"Social media interaction that encourages consumers to contribute and amplify live events (and campaigns more generally), is something every brand should be taking seriously."
O2, as the long-standing sponsor of England Rugby, recently launched a campaign for the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2015. The event’s ‘Wear The Rose’ campaign is intended to galvanise support for rugby and help vocalise that positive message to the masses. Our business, EventsTag, has proudly partnered with O2 to provide a medium for the digital campaign, through which fans can use their voice. Our secret weapon is our technology, which curates specific social media content using the APIs of the world’s leading social media channels. For us to display a bespoke feed that is fit for purpose for some of the world’s biggest events is pleasing to us.
At O2’s RWC 2015 launch party, we successfully used 120 interactive screens in the O2 Arena to bring together live social content from fans in the 14,500-strong audience. Pictures, comments, shout-outs and videos from the Take That gig, all eventually culminated to create one of the richest engagements the world of rugby has ever seen.
Social media interaction that encourages consumers to contribute and amplify live events (and campaigns more generally), is something every brand should be taking seriously. This approach is something our new Chairman, Will Whitehorn, who is the former President of the Virgin Galactic program, has been very keen to embrace. Will has seen first hand the power of crowds in building a brand that aims to speak authentically to a nation.
Another brand doing this well is Nike. The sports company recently hosted their series of #WeOwnTheNight women’s 10km night runs. Through installations at each event, to curate pre and post run photos and messages, Nike managed to generate over 8,000 live engagements, which were made visible to several thousand more people.
These 8,000 engagements led to over 55 million impressions. Put simply, interactive screens at one series of events meant Nike’s bespoke ‘We Own The Night’ hashtag appeared on the social media timelines of over 55 million people. An impact on a phenomenal scale, thanks to content that can also be re-used by Nike in the future.
The beauty of examples like this is that, with a little ingenuity, brands can encourage customers and fans to create their digital campaign content for them. According to Business Insider, social media advertising spend is likely to reach US $14 billion in 2018, which equates to a compound annual growth rate of 18% on the year before. This demonstrates that social media is a channel that companies are taking incredibly seriously; however, the key question to ask is, is paying for ad space really the most effective way of engaging with consumers on a mass scale? I’d suggest not on its own. Why should companies pay billions of dollars for content that could all be created by your own customers authentically and for free? Thankfully, some of the world’s largest brands are starting to realise this, and a well-thought out social media campaign that inspires users to generate content is now the holy grail of all content.
Unsurprisingly, Nike is at the forefront of this trend. Their 2013 #PHOTOiD digital campaign led to the sports brand designing a customised pair of Nike trainers for each user who posted their favourite Instagram image to the brand’s page tagged to a certain colour scheme. With no media spend, the company encouraged 8% of those who engaged – that’s a total of 100,000 consumers - to click through to their online store, with the intention of buying their bespoke trainers.
O2 and Nike are using social media technology to turn consumers, fans and attendees into socially active brand curators and ambassadors. The passion that consumers bring to live events is something that can be so easily captured by companies for their brand benefit. Authentic and direct content creation on behalf of the very people you’re hoping to reach is easily the most powerful and sincere endorsement a brand could hope for, and can multiply ROI for any given campaign. Nevertheless, my advice would be to let your customers be your brand voice. It might even save you a few thousand dollars.
By Dan Strang, CEO, EventsTag