Let me start with a little story…
Remember the Oreo’s blackout tweet? a blackout during the 2013 super bowl caused a significant spike in social media from conversations about the unexpected event. Team Oreo saw this as the opportune moment to jump in the conversation – the “dunk in the dark” tweet was posted and then retweeted more than 10,000 times in less than an hour, to become a legend in the history of creative brand activity in social media.
Just around the same time, at SxSWi 2013, Smirnoff launched Mixhibit – an app that lets users and their friends combine Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts into shareable, customisable videos. Taking advantage of their sponsorship at SxSW and it’s techie crowd, Smirnoff launched Mixhibit, gaining significant feedback on both the need and the app.
In less than 3 months, more than 80,000 fans have downloaded the app, creating more than 20,000 Mixhibit videos and driving some 2,000 hours of engagement with the brand, exceeding any previous benchmark in the food & beverages industry.
So how does the drunk cookie bring me sponsorship success?? well..
Those two very interesting examples share very important elements, and the moral of the story:
Any marketer that is involved in event sponsorship (of almost any kind) just can’t afford to miss out on the brand-meet-digital way of the future…
Here are a few tips on how to get this done:
1. Connect your brand to the event, rather than trying to connect the event to your brand
Events are a great source of content and content is, well, you know.. king.
Events create experiences, some expected, some very unexpected, but all events have memorable moments.. Public moments like a great live performance, an amazing turn of events during a sports game, a memorable quote from from a keynote speaker on stage. And.. hundreds or even thousands of personal moments like time well spent with friends and colleagues, unexpected meetings, inspirations and those “Aha” moments in educational or tech events.
Trying to get in the middle of all that by trying to invoke a conversation about your brand is not only useless, but also quite intrusive and sometimes may feel salesy and spammy. Instead, try to blend in, provide a better platform to sharing those experiences and amazing moments like smirnoff did – or throw in your part of the conversation like Oreo did.
Events are not about your brand, but you can definitely create a lot of attention around it. Let it happen naturally..
2. Gaining Momentum
Oreo’s tweet was indeed very smart, but also very well thought of. Shane Snow , in his book “smartcuts” describes in detail how the tweet was leveraged to making huge headlines after the event, resulting with more than 500M impressions in more than 100 countries. The tweet itself was written about, then they wrote about how it is written about and then about how it won every possible social media award for Oreo and 360i. This agency who was behind this tweet, leveraged each of the steps to a masterpiece, and taught a huge lesson in momentum. Like Snow, I too just committed the same crime of writing about it once again.. this is the power of momentum in action.
Smirnoff did more than that! They leveraged not only the content created during the event for ongoing brand engagement after the event has ended, but also took the platform beyond the boundaries of events to create an ongoing experience with a crowd. This crowd of early adopters became addicted to the platform straight away bringing their friends and friends’ friends in as well, all whist creating content and increasing engagement with the brand on an ongoing basis.
It doesn’t have to be a brilliant, one of a kind tweet at the perfect timing in one of the most important events on the planet. It also doesn’t take developing an app and partnering with an important tech event.
All it takes is setting up your sponsorship in a way that enables you to keep being involved after the event has ended. RESIDUAL ENGAGEMENT! The most straightforward way is opt-in activities, raffles, giveaways, booths, on-site signage and lead generation. All this enables permission based remarketing and ensures that the contact is not completely lost.
3. Search for the sweet spot between physical and digital
Events, by nature, are a physical experience. High volume, big crowds, face to face meetings.. these all play an important role in the digital world we live in, and a very memorable one.
But the biggest impact is created, or so it seems, where the physical world meets the digital one. For Oreo it was a blackout-meets-twitter moment, for Smirnoff – a meeting of hundreds of moments all fused in to one 30sec digital video.
When physical experiences during events are transformed into a digital form they become shareable, they outlive the event itself and have a strong impact even on those who never experienced that exact moment.
Digital activation doesn’t mean pure digital activity. It means playing the digital card right. It is an integral part of your other marketing efforts, it’s hardly ever an enabler of your marketing objectives (visibility, lead generation, etc.) but when played right – it definitely has the potential of being a game changer – taking all of the other components in your strategy to a whole new level of much more engaging, longer lasting results.
SO.. How can those principals be fused together for your events and sponsorship opportunities?
- The means are there – use Twitter, Facebook and other platforms relevant to the event with the intention of starting conversations.
- Use your sponsored visibility to boost it and always try to provoke action: polls, sharing ideas, asking fundamental questions about the centre of attention in the event. Let the crowd do the rest.
- Stay tuned, listen carefully to the ongoing conversations on social media and events within the event, find the right opportunity to take part in the conversation and make your brand SHINE!!!
- Keep momentum going – This is key!! Use content, leads and connections created within the event to keep the discussion and engagement going even long after the event has ended.
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