Strategizing Beyond Media During Global Events
There are very few truly global events that captivate an audience on a scale of the FIFA World Cup. The recent Royal Wedding is believed to have had more than 2 billion people tune in from around the world (and even the International Space Station). 2017’s Super Bowl had 111 million viewers and 2014’s World Cup final? 3.2 Billion. The World Cup is undoubtedly the biggest draw.
For the longest time, events like these have been a way to align your brand with culturally relevant moments, building awareness, association and capitalizing on a connection with the event. It’s the sheer size and scale that makes these once every four-year events so alluring to brands, and even if you are only able to steal a small piece of the pie, you’re still capturing and engaging a huge audience on the biggest stage. Looking back, this was something of a simpler formula with consumption and advertising focused solely on TV and print. Fast-forward 20 years to today with the adoption of digital channels, social platforms, influencers and multi-channel publishers, the landscape has become far more complex. However, this increased complexity has also created opportunity and leveled the playing field for brands to compete, and the opportunity for brands at this summer’s Russian World Cup will be bigger than ever – some of the grittiest battles might not even be taking place on the pitch.
As you’d expect, heavy-hitting brands will be spending big on official sponsorship rights and battling it out for dominance. This leaves a gap for smaller, more agile brands armed with the right triggers and a reactive mentality to ambush and hijack their way to making an impact. But how do they achieve this? The first step is agility, which can be easier said than done. Singular events like the Super Bowl typically require a more proactive, planned approach – of course, there will always need to be an element of reactivity but scenario planning can be done in advance, triggers put in place and creative lined up to capitalize. Tournaments like the World Cup, however, offer a multitude of micro-moments that can offer a brand small wins, both on and off the pitch, all of which can require a different approach. It’s as much about knowing what you shouldn’t pursue as what you should.
The rise of technology and digital has democratized creativity by putting it in the hands of anyone who can make an impact and, as a result, consumers have no preference towards receiving messages from ‘official’ or unofficial sponsors. In fact, with increased reporting of widespread corruption with FIFA executives, the more creative guerilla style activations have gained traction. This is the content audiences are actively seeking out – they have become the new best in class, most relevant and entertaining content creators that look past trademarks in favour of the story.
By proactively prospecting, exploring and collaborating with challenger content, tech and publisher partners in EMEA, PMG can now foster deeper relationships that surface the most innovative and bespoke solutions for our clients. These will guarantee cut through, balance and exemplary reporting visibility in what is sure to a be a crowded advertising space around the World Cup theme and period.
But proactivity alone is not enough. With a number of uncertainties surrounding individual player and country performances, personal player and country stories, favourites and underdogs, thrill and despair, the value of reactivity to capitalise on the right moments for our brands is paramount. By working directly alongside our clients and other agency partners in a ‘war room’ environment daily, we are able to provide unparalleled always-on support, this also affords us frequent opportunities to lead from an insight and opportunity perspective through our partners, most of them often being the first to know about key events and news. At its peak as a full operation (PMG, our client/s and other agency partners), we nurture a collaborative and cross-complementary environment towards a shared goal: to own the World Cup.
This approach inspires us as an agency to think ‘beyond media’. The evolution of digital advertising, online influencers and associated technologies have changed the way we must approach our role as an agency. Nowadays, we continue to lead programmatic, social media and other transactional media executions but it has become as important to seek premium, bespoke partnerships to access talent and exclusive drops. For example, product integration facilitation for iconic magazine covers or YouTube vloggers has become commonplace in our roles today. Data architecture and aggregation into dashboarding solutions is another way in which our remit has morphed to provide extra services on a consultancy basis. This trend is certain to continue and the onus is on PMG to keep discovering new niches to lead.
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Ultimately, we find ourselves at a massively opportune crossroads as an agency. On the one hand, we are always having to prove our base value as a media agency in being masters of the digital advertising landscape and excellent managers of clients, campaigns and innovation. On the other hand, as consultants and agents, we are the bottleneck for the latest and greatest for our clients, which throws up a multitude of new opportunities to diversify our service model. We can rise to the challenge by continuing to be the future-gazers, investigators, and pioneers of our industry.
Posted by Edward Grice
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