Precisely straight to the point:

CONSISTENCY and ENGAGEMENT are conditions ’sine qua non’ to benefit from usage of social media. It is not about ‘quantity’ (just doing posts), but definitely a content is a king. Hence ‘quality’ is a clue.

Let’s take as a case study from the hottest topic for the last several weeks… Brexit! However, I am inviting you to analyse Voting Campaigns 2016 from marketing point of view. And what outcomes we can take to deeply understand, not only survive, and be more successful in digital environment.

I am sure that you remember 2 camps: Leave and Remain with their main slogans: ‘Take Back Control’ and ‘Safer In’. The former was based on emotions, the latter on rational economic arguments. What was stronger, more effective?


Leave campaign creators use negative information, e.g. about EU emigrants or drainage of British budget, to make people feel uncomfortable. And after that, they introduced a solution which eliminate this discomfort. It is a powerful tool of persuasion, which we call in DM2Agency: ‘a wound and a balsam’. And the answer to these problems was ‘Take Back Control’. According to psychologists, including Daniel Pink – autonomy/controlling is one of our three most important motivations in life.

On the other side we had a sophisticated tone with macro-economic factors…However, people do not build links between numbers, statistics and their everyday life. Moreover, a purely negative campaign, including only negative consequences of Brexit without providing any solutions, made people tired.

In regard to #storytelling, the Leave campaign was so straightforward and, again, based on emotions, which are much more stronger than rational arguments.

Please do not see me as a VoteLeave supporter 🙂 Of course the Remain camp had much stronger influencers including Stephen Hawking or Richard Branson. However, a message from political leaders was not as united voice. There were too much differences of beliefs and values, therefore, e.g. Jeremy Corbyn refused to share a platform with David Cameron. 

We know that VoteLeave was an aggressive campaign:

  • with fake news, e.g. Brexit would deliver £350m-a-week to the NHS;
  • and The Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal (via AggregateIQ);
  • campaigners broke the law by breaching election campaign spending limits – exceeding by almost half a million pounds;
  • and they broke the law again by channelling money to use for advertising on Facebook, via undeclared #BeLeave campaign. 

But these facts are known now. However, despite these broken rules, they understood clearly their target audience and they used #neuromarketing tools.


For the first time in British election history, the Leave campaign developed an interactive smartphone app allowing supporters to be up-to-date on debate news and connect with other voters. On the other side, we had traditional advertising. Many Remain supporters chose to ignore the voice of social media as something that has no connection with the real political world. We found comments that they thought about social media as a playground for trolls and teenagers… Sorry for that.

Let’s see how numbers reflected a success of Leave camp:

  • Twitter: the Leave camp outnumbered the Remain camp 7 to 1
  • Instagram: twice as many Brexit supporters on Instagram, 5 times more active than Remain activists; received 26% more likes and 20% more comments
  • the top 3 most frequently used hashtags: #Brexit, #Beleave and #VoteLeave
  • the last month before the referendum: 45% more active on social media than Remain

What are the outcomes from the Voting Campaigns that you can implement to your business strategy?


Definitely, social media give insight into how people are thinking and how to target them. (So now we are in the war zone as the title of my article suggests 🙂 But we are with a peacekeeping mission.) By listening to and observing customers through social media we can find clues: what is really important to them!


‘Try walking in the customer shoes’. And it is not important that it could be not your style, not your size and not your style of walking!


Recognising and understanding which of core psychological goals motivates your customers is essential for effective campaign implementation. Posting just boring company’s news without any connection to their customer’s motivation, it is wasting of your time and money.


Psychologists confirm that when people listen to a narrative tale their brain is stimulated. The better connection you build between the story and the brand, the better you use the potential of social media.

And finally…


🙂 You see! And I know that you understand the concept.


„Without Facebook and other forms of social media there is no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian elections could ever possibly have happened”. – Nigel Farage, told CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his face in the European Parliament. 

‘Perception is reality’ is always in my mind throughout more than 20 years of preparing strategy to the clients. Nowadays I know that this statement is even more powerful.


This article is a part of an academic presentation during a conference ‘The development and impact of ITC and social media on our daily business and personal lives.’ hosted by London Metropolitan University. Presented by Dorota Iwankiewicz FCIM from DM2Agency; interpreting during the conference from English into Spanish, Italian and Chinese.