at the olympics


London 2012: What Marketers Can Expect

In the four short years since the Beijing Olympics, mobile and social technologies have transformed the way consumers engage with each other and consume content. With over $5 billion invested in sponsorship and media opportunities, marketers are using the London Olympics to test new programs that push the boundaries in social engagement, content development and content distribution. While we can’t predict which campaigns and strategies will take the gold, we can expect that some programs will help establish new marketing norms.
The Olympics will offer a prime example of the evolving norm in content production to meet consumer demand. It is expected that more than 21,000 media broadcasters from around the world will be there to document every moment. NBC is sending a reported 2,700 to help develop more than 5,500 hours of content. If you add professional and amateur sources to the list of content contributors, you have a staggering 30,000 people creating original content over two-and-a-half weeks. That raw content will be distributed across multiple devices and platforms at a speed unlike anything we have seen before.
There are a few things we can keep our eyes on during this summer’s Olympics that are likely to drive change and emphasize the shift in the digital marketing landscape:
Evolving online viewership habits 
London 2012 is the first universal opportunity to attract viewers to the same content online and off in both short and long-form format. ComScore measured over 180 million unique viewers of video content and found that the majority of which were viewing short-form videos. For the most part, consumers are still watching television shows on TVs and consuming online video content in bite-sized chunks. However, the Olympics provide plenty of opportunities for consumers to get over the hurdle of authenticating their cable subscriptions to watch some of the Olympics online and begin a path toward consuming online content that is created with a bigger and different screen in mind. 
A media-mix model incorporating bought, owned, earned and shared
Brands are adopting strategies that embrace the convergence of all forms of media and measure performance in a holistic way. In preparation for London, Visa launched their “Go World,” campaign using paid and social media to broadcast individual contributors’ words of encouragement for their favorite athletes and teams. This content will be repurposed for commercials and broadcast on paid and owned channels. Visa has laid out a comprehensive measurement plan to accurately gauge the program’s success, not just in terms of hard metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), but also regarding sentiment.
The consumer's growing role in [orchestrated] content creation 
Brands are relying more on consumers to help with content creation and distribution. In 2008, Coca-Cola created ten pieces of original content for the Beijing Olympics. In 2012, Coke estimates that hundreds of pieces of content will be distributed through social media. While there is some heavy orchestration behind the scenes to identify the right environments and capture the consumer’s voice, Coke is still taking a leap of faith by putting its brand in the consumer’s hands.
The “secret sauce” for engaging consumers across devices
Studies have shown that brand recall grows exponentially the more engaged a consumer is across devices. However, the numbers are fairly low when looking at consumer engagement across screens. eMarketer estimates nine to 30 percent of consumers text, check email, social sites or shop while watching television. To counter this, NBC is producing live-stream videos with short and long-form content for mobile devices. This offers marketers a great opportunity to find ways to develop stronger cross-channel viewing strategies with NBC and identify how to best engage consumers during the gaps. It’s not certain that a formula will be found -- however, the dedicated content across screens and two-week test period is a prime opportunity for marketers to learn more.
With the world as a stage and billions of dollars invested, we can definitely expect to see new strategies from some of the top brands in the world. We should also expect that the successful endeavors will serve as blueprints for future campaigns.



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