We’ve been busy this summer, out on the road with our client’s brands. Building positive brand time face to face with hordes of fans and prospects. Events have been carefully engineered to build awareness, and trial. But, as content marketers we believe it is digital, social and technology that has delivered the deepest opportunities and ultimately the greatest success.
Today’s live experience is as much about the content as it is the event. As much about influencers and advocate amplification as it is the brand voice. Let’s face it consumers are going to find plenty more reasons to share experiences that they have played a part in, rather than content created by the brand on its own. It is co-creation at heart, resulting in thousands and often millions of different perspectives on a brand and its event. And it is technology that is enabling both the co-creation and the share.
Here are few learnings and tips that are worth bearing in mind as you strive to create the most powerfully digital enhanced event.
Your consumers want to be the voices of and the lenses onto something new, surprising and shareable Something that shows they are in the know, were ‘there’ or have a new perspective. The work that we were involved in to promote Ghostbusters at Waterloo Station took passengers by surprise and encouraged selfie images around the world of their ‘involvement’. Stay Puft’s head crashing through the floor of Waterloo and giant slime dripping from the ceiling presented plenty of share potential.
We also built social content around the event in the form of static and video content which was picked up and shared by fans, media and influencers. Our spooky tube map was one such example which got plenty of coverage across social platforms and media titles such as Metro.
Experiential that invites other relevant brands to the party drives reach, credibility and mutual benefit. But co-branding partnerships must be appropriate and the involvement natural. This was exactly what we set out to do for Ballymaloe relish when we embarked on a UK tour to discover great flavour and sandwich combinations for the delicious Irish tomato relish brand.
We linked up with numerous local and national UK food brands that go great with relish. Co-sampling and storytelling with brands such as Le Rustique and Saint Agur cheeses helped us set up the most interesting narrative and naturally delivered great local and national social reach and engagement.
Likewise, for the Irish food board to help them promote the delights and qualities of Irish beef we created a fantastic summer event with over 30 of the UK’s finest Michelin chefs and cooked a delicious rib of beef on a Big Green Egg barbecue. This was furthered with a Big Green Egg sponsored consumer competition and delivered significant social reach, shares and engagement across both a consumer and trade audience.
The strongest experiential campaigns delivering the biggest impact will always look to invite crowd participation. Participation that consumers want to shout about, and participation delivered in a format that is easily and effectively shared.
One great example of this was when Amex celebrated its 20th year of sponsorship involvement in the US Tennis Open. It invited card holders and non card holders on site into an Amex created tennis bay. Every back hand or forehand swing was digitally recorded and turned into a work of art. This was digitally displayed at the event with sound and image. However, it didn’t stop there. The output was emailed to all participants with data on the velocity and direction of their swings. They were invited to share on social channels and the resulting engagement increase, versus previous year, was over 600%.
Clever use of technology, creativity and conceptual brilliance are key components of a successful digitally enhanced experiential programme but effective means to measure that success must be in place.
Here are a few brief points to note….
Set KPIs – shortlist and define exactly what you want your campaign to achieve. Structure things to enable you to track against this intent.
Record social engagement – be clear about pre and post goals. Use hashtags to help engagement measures. Define how and where you want that engagement to manifest.
Monitor mentions and sentiment – use online monitoring and listening tools to understand the sentiment, the topics and the authors of your brand’s commentary
Sales – the acid test. Record sales performance peaks at the time of activity running. Monitor localized sales performance around events. Use coupons to drive to purchase. Use mobile enabled barcode redemption.
With growth in AR, VR, mobile features and geo opportunities technology is only going to further the case for experiential strategies being at the heart of the brave new world of content. Those brands that are mindful of human social, mobile and digital behaviour will allow themselves to expand conversations and be present in places and amongst people that other marketing channels would struggle to reach.