Brand Republic has highlighted its top marketing events of the year, covering the genius and perils of marketing and social media. Here are the lessons to be learned when it comes to engaging, selling or increasing your visibility on the web.

Some of the best marketing and social media moments of the year came from spur of the moment decisions or short-term windows of opportunity, proving that marketers and social media managers for businesses of any size always need to be ready to act. 

Marketing Moments

What can we learn from Brand Republic's top 10 moments of the year — and how can any brand make similar waves in 2014?

Tweeting in the Dark

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The power outage at the Super Bowl left a lot of air time to fill, and time for viewers to discuss the event on their smartphones. Demonstrating how being prepared can bring instant rewards, Oreo's marketing and advertising team capitalized on the moment of opportunity. 

It's "You can still dunk in the dark" advertisement with a quickly-created image put it in the top 10 tweets of all time, according to Yahoo Finance. It had 18,000 retweets and favorites.

Key points for success in 2014:

  • You don't need millions of followers to make an impact, the Oreo Cookie Twitter account has less than 250,000.
  • Track calenders and events so you always have an image or phrase that's relevant to the events of the day or season.
  • If your business has a mascot or figurehead, focus on how to use it across various situations and get into a range of messages. 

The Negative Wave

Twitter appears again in Brand Republic's next moment of the year, but starts off in a very negative light. Within the echo chamber of social media, it only takes a few abusive messages to start a firestorm. With sexism, racism and bigotry in many forms appearing across Twitter and other social networks, something had to be done after one July incident

While Twitter finally responded in late August, with the "Report Abuse" button, a lot of damage had already been done. However, future outbursts should now be mitigated. 

Key points for success in 2014:

  • Look for weak points of control and editorial management in any messaging, forums or other social service you operate or subscribe to. Offer safety mechanisms or pressure the operator to add them before any incident occurs, no matter how small you think the risk. 
  • If an abusive incident takes place, aim for immediate control of the situation. Locking threads, blocking access, banning users and other methods can prevent bad situations from getting worse.
  • Maintain positive communications with the victim(s) throughout with support and sensitivity. What may be a few crude messages on a site can have a very real impact on the person at the receiving end. 

The Beginning of the End of BlackBerry

Experts and analysts have been predicting the end (or some form of ending) for BlackBerry for many years, and Brand Republic highlighted its demise and Nokia's acquisition by Microsoft as the end of an era in 2013. 

BlackBerry has been struggling over its failure to innovate since the arrival of smartphones. Despite this, the company, through the steely gaze of recently-ousted CEO Thorsten Heins, kept true to its course. As a public company, it could do little else to protect what little share value was left, with only a few "betting the bank" comments highlighting the gravity of the situation.

In the end BlackBerry is retreating to the enterprise, having failed to find a buyer and focusing on its successful BBM social software product, but is unlikely to return to its former glory.

Key points for success in 2014:

  • Resetting expectations can be harsh, and tough to do in public, yet along in a smaller business, but doing it early means less pain later. Clear communications are essential to cut through the noise. 
  • The perception of being slow or behind the market in a technology field can be crippling, no matter how good your marketing. If your product is faced with that ignominy, look to reposition or repurpose it, or to refocus on a successful element. 

Content Is King, Consumption is Changing

Early in the year, Netflix posted its exclusive House of Cards series as a one-shot, all 13 episodes available from day one. By changing the pattern of TV viewing from weekly (expect for reruns, holiday and inexplicable mid-season breaks) to whenever the viewer wanted disrupted network rulebooks. 

While the battle between big TV and web TV continues in a titanic stalemate, shots like this will help to change the landscape. Some shows now appear on the web first or are simulcast, other shows have webisodes attached to them to increase viewer interaction. Even if you don't use video, looking to change how you use the content can shake up your business prospects. 

Key points for success in 2014:

  • Whatever content your business can provide, don't follow a traditional pattern of getting it out there. Breaking these rules is more likely to get your content noticed and shared, than the quality or value. Once your audience sees that value, they should keep coming back. 
  • Find out where your customers are post the content in the right places, you don't need to build a service from scratch, with many image, document, advice and video sharing services. 

And the Winner is... Extra Special Customer Service

Whatever your marketing plans or driving ambition in business, you are nothing without your customers. Treating them well will see most businesses or enterprises go far, and while few are in a position to treat them this well, use a little imagination when it comes to rewarding them and see what benefit it brings.