Hipsters are everywhere these days. They’re a large portion of the Millennial generation and you shouldn’t have any trouble spotting them in public. Their pants are usually too tight, they often sport bizarre haircuts or retro fedoras and the males often sport beards. The ladies don those too-big eyeglasses popular in the 60’s – even if they don’t need them. They’re being “ironic.”
H&R Block is targeting this group in an online video campaign about a supposed “Hipster Tax Crisis.” The online video campaign shows hipsters being interviewed about what they plan to do with their tax returns. If you’ve somehow missed it, here’s the first video:
Of course, the campaign isn’t about a hipster crisis at all. Instead, it’s an attempt to get them to use the service and give H&R Block a new image as a hipper brand ready to reinvent itself, H&R Block’s director of social influence Scott Gulbransen explained  to the New York Times:
“[They] look at us and say, ‘That’s my dad’s, my granddad’s tax company.’ And our competition, TurboTax, is a little more hip, if you will.”
So what can small businesses learn from a large, well-established business launching a huge re-branding campaign?
Well, you don’t need to hire  big names like ESPN’s Kenny Mayne or spend close to a half-million dollars to make an impact.
Below are some of the basics any business can employ to create a campaign that resonates.
Business Lessons: Hipster Tax Crisis Ad Campaign
Use Video to Connect With Your Target Audience
While H&R Block may not necessarily get a flood of hipsters to begin using their services this tax season, the company stands to gain some new customers who may have overlooked it in the past. When it comes time to prepare your taxes, people who haven’t decided on a tax prep service will likely remember these rather comical ads.
Creating a memorable online video, humorous or otherwise, doesn’t need to break the bank, either. Remember this recent video that elevated fashion startup Wren . Done for just $1,300, it has amassed more than 64 million views on YouTube in just 10 days.
Use Hashtags to Help People Track the Conversation
The new campaign uses #HipsterTax to help others follow the conversation on Twitter and other social media.
You can do something similar by using a promoted hashtage to encourage others to share, follow and add to the conversation in social media.
Boost Engagement and Measure Impact
H&R Block also set up a special website, Hipster Tax Crisis , and is encouraging viewers to share videos from the campaign at the site during the 2014 tax season. In return the company says it will make a donation to Covenant House, an organization for homeless youths.
You can encourage similar sharing among your target audience as a way to increase engagement with your message and measure overall impact. It’s an easy way to determine whether your audience is really paying attention.