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VIDEO: The vision of the future

Content. The buzzword of modern-day marketing. Not a day goes by in the office when the word content isn’t mentioned. With all this comes a huge increase in video content, and at a time where one third of online activity is video consumption, brands would be foolish to not ensure that the video content they are producing is engaging, relevant and last, but by no means least, has a purpose.

Yet, with this explosion of online video comes a huge amount of data, which ultimately, is the key to brand success; unlocking audience behaviour, and being informed about what is making an impact. In light of this, I attended an Online Video Data Revolution Talk hosted by Tubular Labs last week where I was able to listen to the success stories and learnings from broadcast and digital experts in their pursuit of doing just that.

Be one of the ‘Lads’

In the room, we learnt tips from the likes of Adam Clyne, COO of The LAD Bible Group, the world's fastest-growing news site for young men. With monthly viewership of 3.7 billion, and ranking second across global media properties (according to Tubular Lab’s August statistics), The LAD Bible is a great example of a brand born out of social media channels, mainly Facebook, which meant the pressure to create engaging video content was vast.

Clyne was quick to acknowledge that the ‘relatability’ of The LAD Bible’s content has been a huge factor in its success. By understanding their audience, the team at The LAD Bible are able to produce video which has the likeability and shareability factor which exponentially increases the likelihood of getting views. Elements like ‘tag a mate’ act as a direct call to action, which often results in a domino effect with audiences’ content participation.

The success of The LAD Bible has also been down to the instantaneous results which they can gauge through social sentiment. Clyne highlighted that more than ever, if the content is wrong for your audience, they are not afraid to comment and call you out on this. This goes for branded content as well, with audiences being savvy enough to acknowledge a brand collaboration when they see it. However, Clyne pointed out that such content shouldn’t be an anomaly within your newsfeed or enable you to “sell your soul” by changing your normal tone for the sake of a brand. Nowadays, it is more important than ever to react to what your audience wants, learn the before and after, and ensure you’re targeting those most engaged with your content.

Leaving Broadcast Behind

With the rise in digital video content, where does this leave broadcasters? Certainly, there is the necessity to keep ahead with the times by creating short-form content which can establish a place on social platforms in its own right. Andy Taylor, co-founder and CEO of LittleDot Studios commended American talk shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden for their ability to master an online presence.

A show of hands in the room proved this point when asked who watches The Late Late Show with James Corden versus who had seen James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke ; more often than not, YouTube sees more views of broadcast content than the programme itself. These types of videos tap into the recipe of success which Adam Clyne spoke of, being easily shareable as well as timeless in their existence on YouTube.

What’s next for video

With the surge in demand for online content, Andy Taylor from Little Dot predicted that in five years’ time, Facebook will consist of strictly video content. For broadcasters to succeed in these times, he predicted that we are more likely to see TV and online collaborations. This is something we have already had glimpses of with the recent partnership between National Geographic and The LAD Bible, whereby National Geographic’s Leonardo DiCaprio-led documentary, Before the Flood ( was broadcast simultaneously on TV and via a livestream on The LAD Bible’s Facebook page.

This form of output is establishing a presence online, particularly for sports fans who have shown themselves hugely engaged with digital and social live streaming, which brings massive opportunities for rightholders and broadcasters alike. Just recently, Andy Murray became the first tennis star to stream a major match live on Facebook from his own page, and Moto GP earned more than 7 million views from a clip of Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi partaking in some ‘epic’ wheelies, demonstrating that the appetite for live sport on social will continue to increase.

Ultimately, it is clear that video content is more important than ever for engaging audiences and creating a loyal fan base for your brand; viewer behaviours are finding new forms of expression all the time, so, more often than not, brands need to adapt quickly and respond. Lastly, it is important to understand that the digital landscape has shifted in such a way that brands are able to reach their consumers without necessarily going through a third party, putting greater emphasis on the brand messages themselves and the way they reach their audience. We’re currently in a shift state, the balance of power for content is moving from broadcast to online, and I for one am excited to see where brands can capitalise from this.

Moving Social Media Measurement in Sponsorship from Vanity to Value

Closing the Telegraph’s Business of Sport article on ‘The importance of social media in sport’, Synergy CEO Tim Crow says rightsholders “need to focus less on selling price and impressions and much more on delivering engagement and value”.

He's right – value metrics are the future. And with more words set to be published on twitter in the next 2 years than in all books ever printed, the cost of getting social media measurement wrong – by using vanity metrics such as “likes” and “clicks” – is set to skyrocket. This blog aims to provide a quick guide to moving sponsorship towards better social media measurement.

social media channels

The majority of data points available in off-the-shelf analytics packages are what author of The Lean Startup, Eric Reis, calls Vanity Metrics – they might make you feel good, but don’t offer clear guidance on what actions to take. Put another way, they do not help make decisions on how to drive value. Since around 80% of companies use vanity metrics, it’s clear that sponsorship must move from vanity to value in social media ASAP.

“But how?” I hear you ask.

Social media is very different to other channels in terms of data accuracy, frequency and availability. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can offer a wealth of data on user actions to the very second at which they took place, and the rise of real-time is set to transform the way we estimate and track value beyond what I can imagine. That means a move to value metrics in social media will have to leverage some of the most advanced measurement tools and techniques out there today.

Future Dashboards

We can understand value creation through Social Media with a simple framework for understanding social media value:

Reach – the number of unique impressions (organic & paid) made on the audience. Put another way, it’s the number of people who actually see an ad pop up in their newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter, or the pinboard of Pinterest users.

Engagement – directly purchasing a promoted product or interacting with and sharing brand content. Fundamentally, it’s the people who “like”, “share”, or “comment” on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Advocacy – sentiment of the users who engage with the ad. In other words, the degree to which they are positive, neutral or negative towards the ad.

Purchase – the number of users who see the ad who, are converted to sale. In simple terms, it’s the people who have, one way or another, seen the ad and parted with their cash because of it.

Sales – Cost = Return on Investment (ROI)

Job done!

Or not, as it turns out. Analytics experts reading the above (I’m sure there are many…) will have noted the “simple” approach above is perhaps a bit too simple. Reach and Engagement are indeed hard to measure. There is, in fact, a relationship between impressions and interactions: the greater the Engagement level, the more users interact, the larger the resulting Reach. Put another way, albeit making an inference about causality, more engagement can drive more impressions – social media users who engage with and share brand ads are growing the number of people ‘impressed’.

Analysis has shown the correlation coefficient between impressions and engaged users to be +0.83

Transitioning to an approach like the one outlined above, and addressing the interaction across stages, would be represent a significant step forward for the sponsorship industry.Learning from Social Media

While data frequency in more traditional channels such as live-event, TV or Radio broadcast may never reach the levels seen in social media – it does not need to – brands should push for the same level of data accuracy and availability. The key is to transform their respective vanity metrics, like branded mentions and views, into value metrics.

Further lessons lie in the dashboards and user-interfaces used to visualize social media metrics today. In an age of big-data, it is easy to get lost in a sea of information without getting to insight. Social media platforms like Facebook – and behind-the-scenes Facebook Insights – are a step ahead of other sponsorship channels in tracking user data pre-, during- and post-campaign. We must learn from them.

So what next?

With only 1% of companies currently being “socially native” – meaning (among other things) they have measurement to match business objectives – the sponsorship industry has a long way to go. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I hope this blog will help the industry take it.

 

If you need a nudge or some guidance on social media measurement please do send Synergy an email at tom.gladstone@synergy-sponsorship.com and, if you haven’t already, take a look at how Synergy think about sponsorship value in our Synergy Decisions white paper here.

Work

SSE and Women’s Football

BRIEF

To illustrate how and why SSE are supporting all levels of women’s football by telling the incredible unknown stories in the game. We were challenged to deepen the relationship the brand has with customers and prospects by creating content that was emotionally engaging, sparked positive conversation online and ultimately drove people to SSE’s website.

SOLUTION

Synergy created Dads and Daughters, a series of mini-documentaries celebrating fathers who have played a major part in their daughters playing football…and the enormous benefits they’ve seen because of this. Our films tell stories of the special father-daughter bond that football can create across all levels of the game, from grassroots to professional, and the power of football to help girls overcome challenges they face in life.

Episode 1: The Professional - Kelly & Bernard Smith

The first episode launched on Father’s Day with Women’s Football legend Kelly Smith. We showed how Kelly’s dad Bernard helped her become the top goal-scorer in England Lionesses’ history.

Episode 2: The Beginner - Daisy & Kenny McGregor

An emotional story of how girls-only football gave Daisy new friendships, confidence and acceptance. More importantly, it became the catalyst for Daisy to take control of her medical condition, Tourettes. Through football, Daisy and Kenny conquer challenges together, building a powerful bond along the way.

Episode 3: The Next Generation - Flo & Rob Allen

17-year-old Flo and dad, Rob, tell their story of what it takes to make it to the top. Flo, through extreme determination, dedication and sacrifice, is making huge strides toward her lifelong dream of representing her nation at football. She recently achieved one huge step towards her goal by being selected for England’s U17 World Cup in Jordan.

RESULTS

Our first two episodes had over a million views across social media, resulting in more than 39,000 clicks through to SSE’s website. Our supporting PR campaign gave us over 150 pieces of coverage, reaching audiences of 52 million.

Episode 3 has been the most successful piece of organic content in SSE’s history. The film launched during Girls’ Football Week and saw everyone from Jacqui Oatley, Lionesses’ Head Coach Mark Sampson and WSL League and clubs engaging with the content. The likes, loves and shares keep coming in, generating fantastic positive sentiment for SSE.

Schools Cup 2016

BRIEF

Generate awareness of NatWest’s role within schools rugby and build brand affinity with the Schools Cup programme through ‘painting the tournament NatWest purple’.

NatWest Schools Cup

SOLUTION

With the majority of the Schools Cup audience being active on Facebook and Twitter, we led with social media as our primary communication channel. We positioned NatWest’s channels as the go-to place for all things Schools Cup related, showcasing the tournament through real-time match footage natively posted on both Facebook and Twitter. Saracens hooker and event ambassador Jamie George provided live commentary throughout the finals with all our graphics overlaid with the NatWest purple filter… literally painting the tournament purple.
At the climax of the season, we created the NatWest Schools Cup Academy Day which gave 30 of the best schoolboy players a chance to experience a day in the life of an elite England player. The session was held at Pennyhill Park and involved both training and film analysis led by RFU coaches and England forwards Chris Robshaw, Matt Kvesic and Dave Attwood.

NatWest Schools Cup Tweet

RESULTS

On Finals Day, our NatWest Live content team extended the reach of the event beyond Twickenham, amassing 39,700 video views and 27,900 engagements across both Facebook and Twitter. Importantly, all video commentary was posted within 60 seconds of the moment occurring on the pitch, ensuring the brand truly owned all the key moments online.

NatWest Schools Cup

Master Your Dreams

BRIEF

Build awareness of Standard Life and increase understanding of what the brand represents whilst highlighting the shared values of the association between Standard Life and Andy Murray: a commitment to excellence and to advancing ambition.

SOLUTION

This year, Standard Life’s partnership with Tennis World Number 2 Andy Murray tells the story of advancing ambition and commitment to excellence as part of the ‘Master Your Dreams’ campaign, created by Synergy.
Using the exclusive access Standard Life have to Andy Murray, we are creating a series of short films focusing on Andy’s ambition, dedication and passion to succeed, entitled “Master Your Dreams”. In addition to this, the “When Andy Met” supplementary content shows Andy Murray meeting other sporting heroes who have Mastered Their Dreams, to talk sports, performance and the pursuit of their remaining goals and dreams.

RESULTS

The series is still ongoing, but to date the films have collectively amassed over 6 million views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

RugbyForce 2016

BRIEF

NatWest supports the grassroots game through RugbyForce  the largest community rugby project in England and Wales. Following Rugby World Cup 2015, we had to sustain the momentum of interest in the game by ensuring registrations remained high. Our challenge was to get NatWest closer to their local communities in which they work by revitalising the existing programme, encouraging a renewed interest from clubs.

NatWest RugbyForce

SOLUTION

We invigorated the RugbyForce by creating brand new incentive for 2016. Clubs that registered had the chance to win legends of the game Lewis Moody, Will Greenwood, Tom Shanklin and Al Kellock on their club’s board for a year. We created a mini-series of targeted social media content promoted across both the brands and each Union’s channels. This was amplified through press interviews with each legend to highlight the business acumen they could offer a grassroots club.

RESULTS

While the roll-out is still underway, the campaign has reached and engaged over 800 clubs, surpassing last year’s total registrations. The launch film achieved 330,500 views in the first 72 hours, directing 1,100 people to the registration pages. This, combined with legend interviews, generated over 200 press clippings, including each of the three countries' key national titles. Watch the launch video here and stay tuned to see each legend join their winning club.

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#GoGlasgow – Glasgow 2014

BRIEF

Use SSE’s sponsorship of Glasgow 2014 to convey and unite SSE’s presence across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and bring warmth to the brand.

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SOLUTION

In an innovative collaboration with Glasgow 2014, SSE supercharged fans’ social support with the #GoGlasgow ‘Social Medal Table’ hosted on glasgow2014.com and the SSE site. Nation-specific hashtags were used to gather and compare social support between nations, with SSE pledging athlete funding to the home nation that demonstrated the strongest support across the Games. The voice of the fans was published as an ever-evolving real-time medal table, while social snacks of the story were published across Twitter, Facebook and PR channels.

RESULTS

#GoGlasgow ignited the Glasgow 2014 social conversation, generating positive brand impact amidst extremely challenging times for the energy sector. The campaign achieved the highest sponsor awareness, generating over 50,000 tweets. According to Twitter themselves, #GoGlasgow achieved "striking moments on an individual and a grand scale".

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Live Challenge

BRIEF

Enhance the RBS 6 Nations live match experience for fans watching anywhere and everywhere to drive increased affinity with RBS.

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SOLUTION

The RBS 6 Nations Live Challenge, a ground-breaking real-time companion app – a world-first for rugby   which challenged fans to predict the results of key plays and used Facebook Connect to enable fans to compete with their friends. The app’s impact was amplified with an integrated PR and social campaign, designed to drive both app downloads and increased awareness of RBS’s support for rugby and the RBS 6 Nations.

RESULTS

Over a 6-week period, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times, with users playing for an average of 45 minutes per match. The support campaign generated an online reach of over 86m, with features in The Sun, The Guardian and in the ‘What’s Hot’ section of Apple’s App store.

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BMW England Rugby

BRIEF

Make BMW and its vehicles central to England Rugby and the fans’ experience, and drive engagement and leads.

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SOLUTION

Famously, England rugby fans’ favourite song is ‘Sweet Chariot’. And notoriously, the fans’ travelling experience to and from Twickenham Stadium for England games is difficult. We leveraged these two insights with the BMW Sweet Chariots campaign. A launch film featuring the England team on the road singing Sweet Chariot went viral, and was followed by the appearance of the BMW Sweet Chariots, a fleet of England Rugby-liveried BMWs which offers fans chauffeur-driven rides to and from matches at Twickenham via digital and experiential promotions.

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RESULTS

The launch film achieved over 500,000 views and national media coverage, and the BMW Sweet Chariots have become a fans’ favourite at Twickenham and generated thousands of leads.

London 2012 – Golden BMWs

BRIEF

BMW was a London 2012 Partner but had no marketing rights to the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. How could BMW leverage the national marketing opportunity created by the Torch Relay?

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SOLUTION

We leveraged UK communities’ excitement about the Torch arriving in their area by touring a convoy of three custom-liveried Golden BMWs around the Torch Relay route a day ahead of the official Relay. Alongside, we created an integrated social, PR and experiential campaign aligned with BMW retailers, including inviting people to ‘Spot, Snap and Share’ on social media their photos of the Golden BMWs to win London 2012 tickets.

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RESULTS

We re-imagined the possibilities of Olympic Torch Relay marketing by owning the 24 hours before the Torch arrived. Making the cars the star was equally critical: turning the BMWs gold created Olympic relevance, social media buzz and media appeal, and ensured that BMW was indivisible from the story. The campaign reached over 20 million consumers, inspired almost 50,000 visits to BMW retailers, and increased BMW UK’s Facebook community by 15%.

BMW & The Ryder Cup

BRIEF

Maximise awareness of BMW’s partnership with the Ryder Cup by generating 3 million impressions and securing a minimum of 240 warm leads through Twitter.

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SOLUTION

A live and interactive social commentary on the Ryder Cup. We used real-time Twitter content to constantly keep fans informed of the battles taking place on the course, with a number of big broadcasters copying our 4-image-tweet format in their own feeds! The Blue v Red, Europe v USA campaign identity dramatised the intensity of the competition, and inspired fans to tweet motivational messages to their heroes. We made the best fans’ tweets famous, and rewarded them with tickets to Gleneagles. And to add a bit of social fresh air, we commissioned unique illustrations of everyone’s favourite Ryder Cup moments and surprised re-tweeters with tickets and prints of the iconic artwork.

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RESULTS

6.8 million social media impressions, more than double our target, and the Twitter activity was directly responsible for 518 product leads - double our target. The Drum described the campaign as “dominating” the Ryder Cup conversation, whilst Twitter themselves called out #DriveYourTeam as exemplary practice.

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Fan v Fan

BRIEF

Create an integrated campaign to leverage Betfair's ECB partnership during the 2009 Ashes Series, dramatise the Betfair exchange, and drive awareness and acquisition.

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SOLUTION

We pitted two Ashes legends, Phil ‘Tuffers’ Tufnell and Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, against each other in a series of madcap challenges ahead of each Test. The challenges, which included pedalo racing in Cardiff Bay and a lawnmower grand prix at Lord’s, culminated in the loser, Gillespie, being body-painted with the St George’s Cross. The funny, vivid nature of the challenges, highly differentiated from other brands’ Ashes activity, spearheaded a fully integrated digital and PR-led campaign which proved irresistible to fans and the media alike.

RESULTS

Spontaneous brand awareness increased by 6%. 29% increase in customer acquisition. 191 pieces of national media coverage.