The Power of Blogging

Blogging is one of the most popular social media channels today with the potential to attract a large number of visitors.  Specifically from a sponsor property perspective, I believe a corporate blog can provide the following benefits at relatively low-cost:

1)      Fresh insightful content which supports search engine optimization, multiple website visits and an increased likelihood that people will find your organization through search engines.

2)      The enhancement of an organizations brand and credibility which will position the organization as an attractive sponsor proposition.

3)      The opportunity to engage and develop a lasting relationship with customers and potential customers.

4)      Opportunity to create unique content in association with sponsors.

Top 3 tips to leverage the power of blogging

The web is full of tips and tricks on how to leverage the power of blogging.  Here are my top three tips for a sponsor property:

1) Plan.  A successful blog requires careful planning.  Set objectives and develop a blog policy to guide content creation, engagement and promotion.  Also be sure to develop a strategy to include exciting unique content in association with strategic sponsors.

2) Use Keywords. The key driver of traffic to a blog is the publication of interesting and insightful content and the selection of keywords is integral to SEO.  An increase in traffic will not only add appeal to a property but can also increase the interest of existing sponsors and will add value to new sponsor packages.   The following website is a useful tool to support the development of keywords for a blog.

3) Follow the 4 Pillars of Writing Exceptional Blogs.  We are all busy and have so many competing demands every day, so keep your blog simple and easy to read for visitors so that they want to return again and again.

Do you agree that blogging is a powerful tool for organizations?    Please take a moment to answer the poll below.  Thank you.

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Maximizing Facebook Presence

With the winter ski season at Whistler Blackcomb officially under way (yes all the rain in Vancouver is a blessing to powder hounds), the focus for my post this week is an analysis of Whistler Blackcomb’s facebook page.

The Stats: Whistler Blackcomb Facebook stats are in line with one of their major North American competitors Vail:

  • 121,030 likes (Vail: 123,723)
  • 17,517 talking about Whistler Blackcomb (Vail: 17, 568)
  • 225,924 were here (Vail: 62,802)

As with other social media platforms, the challenge with Facebook is to create an effective presence that allows an organization to build an online community and engage with this community on an ongoing basis.  Whistler Blackcomb in my opinion has done this well.  Here’s why:

Branding : Facebook timeline cover image is updated regularly.  The current image is visually inspiring and relevant to the Whistler Blackcomb brand and current ‘Wonder’ marketing campaign.

Content: Whistler Blackcomb offers a good mix of content with regular updates between 2 and 4 times per day.  Updates include:

  • Snow conditions
  • Upcoming events and cross promotion e.g. Whistler TweetUp November 24
  • Unique content to Facebook platform including Fashion Fridays highlighting retail stores, retail partners and clothing e.g. Arcteryx
  • Deals (currently early  booking deadlines for hotels and passes)
  • Questions
  • Partner mentions e.g. Nintendo Terrain Park with link to Nintendo Facebook page.
  • Pin Post Holding currently highlighting launch of Wonder Reel Episode 3 at top of page (205 likes, 113 shares and 18 comments in one day)
  • Highlight posts.   The most recent post with an image of Whistler Mountain garnered 940 likes and 26 comments within 5 hours of posting.  Other examples include ‘The Wonder-Full Gondola opening day promotion, and pre-season highlights with YouTube
  • Integration of other social media platforms e.g. YouTube and Flickr

Social Media Personality: Whistler Blackcomb demonstrates a consistent social media personality with the following traits:

  • Genuine
  • Fun
  • Gracious showing appreciation for opening day enthusiasm on Whistler
  • Good listener
  • Responsive to posts in real time e.g. skier frustration with technology error for last day of season pass sales which required Whistler Blackcomb to extend the deadline

Engagement: Whistler Blackcomb encourages and receives interaction through fan posts on wall as well as comments to all status updates.  Other engagement features include:

    • Contests – “Map Your Wonder”
    • Good use of Social Plug Ins (Like, Comment, Share and Add to Interest Lists)
    • Postings specifically encouraging fans to subscribe to social Plug In ‘Add to Interest Lists’

Final Thoughts: Overall Whistler Blackcomb has excellent page management and status updates that engage their fans on an ongoing basis.  Aside from a couple of faulty links under the “cog” drop down menu that require attention, I shall offer three recommendations:

1)      Consider using Milestones to highlight Whistler Blackcomb’s awards, accolades, epic winter snowfalls and events such as the opening of the Peak to Peak gondola.

2)      Mix up engagement with the use of polls

3)      Further Integration of sponsor messaging to add additional value to the fan experience and to sponsors alike.

Check out Whistler Blackcomb’s Facebook page for yourself.  I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Posted in Social Media, Sponsor Property | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Tracking Social Media Activation

With the integration of social media into activation programs for sponsors, it’s important to be able to establish goals, key performance indicators (KPIs) and to monitor and measure accordingly.  I’m a complete novice when it comes to social media tracking but as a follow up to my post on activation at the Summer Olympics in London, I decided to test out a social media tracking tool to evaluate the sentiment around Coca-Cola’s activation in Olympic Park.

There are many free and paid sources across the web that can support an organization’s ability to track common (KPIs) across social media including but not limited to visits, unique visitors, members, posts, comments, ratings, views, mentions and sentiment .   Many of the paid social media monitoring and measurement services are highlighted in Jeremiah Owang’s blog.  For organizations looking for a more budget friendly option there are also free sources such as Google Alerts, Monitter, Wildfire, Addictomatic and Social Mention.

For the purpose of my research, I decided to test out Addictomatic‘s complimentary service because of its ability to provide a custom page of search results across multiple social media platforms.   After entering Coca-Cola Beatbox in the key word search, Addictomatic provided me with search highlights across Twitter, Wordsearch, Friendfeed, Google Blog Search, YouTube abd Flickr.  I then decided to focus on comments through Friendfeed as Coca-Cola placed an emphasis on social networking platforms at the Beatbox in Olympic Park.  A highlight of comments are listed below to which I applied a sentiment score in accordance with netnography analysis ( -1 = negative comment, 0 = neutral comment and +1 =positive comment):

Comment Sentiment Score
RT @architectmag Sure, Coca-Cola’s   interactive pavilion for #London2012 is promotional, but it’s also #Awesome… +1
Check out my photo from the   Coca-Cola BeatBox on the Olympic Park!… +1
Coca Cola’s Olympic Beatbox is a   Building with a Beat : TreeHugger… 0
Just posted a photo @ Coca-Cola   Beatbox – Olympic Park…August 8from Twitter- Comment- Like-   Share 0
Coca Cola Beatbox Personal – immer   gut gelaunt #cokesummer #Olympics… +1
RT @11AliveNews: Karyn and Chesley   check out London’s Coca-Cola Beatbox 0
gorgeous installation: pernilla   & asif: coca-cola beatbox:… via   @addthis +1
coca-cola beatbox @ Coca-Cola   Beatbox – Olympic Park… 0
Kol’s   Fav Feeds – GeneralLondon’s Coca-Cola ‘Beatbox’   building is a giant music remixer –… 0
Coca-Cola’s Beatbox Pavilion   Will Inspire Olympic Visitors to ‘Move to the Beat of London 2012′…July 24from TwitterCommentLikeShare +1

To summarize my findings, the overall sentiment using Addictomatic was split 50/50 between neutral and positive comments.   I’m quite surprised at how limited the results were.  Over 200,000 people toured the Beatbox over the Olympics and each participant received a unique redemption code to collect their official photo with the Olypmic torch which Coke encouraged to be shared  via Facebook and Twitter.  This begs the question whether the data I collected was due to user error  (i.e me), timing of my analysis (i.e. four months after the Games) or whether free services provide enough information to allow social media activation to be monitored correctly?

What has been your experience with free Social Media Tracking Tools?  Do you have a preference for specific tools and why?

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Vancouver International Wine Festival Announces New Charity Partnership

I came across a recent press release announcing a new partnership between The Vancouver International Wine Festival and Bard On The Beach and created the following social media release:

Vancouver International Wine Festival Announces New Charity Partnership with Bard on the Beach

Have you attended either of these events?  I’d love to hear about your experience.

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Sponsorship Activation Through Social Media

Everyone is talking about social media and wondering how best to use it.  Sponsors are no different.  In addition to their own branded social platforms, sponsors are increasingly leveraging right holders social communities to extend their reach and awareness.

The following video highlights four tips on how to leverage social media in activation plans and refers to a great article written by our friends at IEG.

What other tips would you add to this list?

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Top 10 Habits Of A Highly Effective Sponsorship Team

I wonder how many of you have ever taken a moment to think about what it really takes to have a highly effective sponsorship team.   Here are my top ten habits to help get you on your way:

1.       Know Your Assets.  There really is no point in trying to sell a partnership arrangement  if you don’t understand and manage the assets you have.  Take time to compile an audit to support the development of packages.  

2.       Align your brand with like-minded companies/individuals.  Do your due diligence.  Make sure you align yourself with like minded businesses/individuals who share the same values.   Although somewhat unforeseen, you don’t want to be in the position of Nike, Anheuser Busch or Giro who pulled their sponsorship arrangements with Lance Armstrong this week.

3.       Play the role of an agency.  This point relates closely to my post last week.  It’s really important to think outside the box and provide creative solutions to sponsors so that they can achieve their objectives through your partnership.

4.       Go the extra mile.  In our current economic environment where budgets are always being scrutinized and companies are resistant to establishing long term partnerships, it is important to surprise and delight with value add opportunities.  Why?   Well, it’s much easier and cheaper to renew and grow an existing partner down the road than bring a new partner on board.

5.       Customize pitches.  Don’t fall into the mistake of so many organizations.  I cannot stress how important it is to customize a partnership proposal for each and every organization you approach.  Take time to add industry  insights from your research and create unique out of the box activation plans to wow any potential sponsor.

6.       Keep It Simple.  Stay focused.  To avoid clutter and the potential for creating a logo farm, try focusing on establishing a few large sponsorship deals rather than lots of smaller deals.  Small deals will create clutter and a lot of extra work and diminish the value for other partner.  By compiling a sales plan that prioritizes categories of sponsorship, you will be much more focused in your efforts.

7.     Develop mutually beneficial partnership objectives.  Establish objectives for each partnership with each sponsor and keep these the focus of everything you do.  And of course, make sure the objectives are SMART.

8.       Evaluate performance.  This point seems to be over looked way too much in my opinion, but if you don’t evaluate the performance of your partnership on a regular basis, then how do you know what to improve and focus your efforts on moving forward.  A sponsorship arrangement should be viewed as a strategic partnership that is integral to one another’s business plans.

9.       Compile Year End Reports.  The single most important thing you can do for any partnership after establishing a legal contract is to compile a year end report highlighting the benefits and ROI a sponsor has received from your property from the event/previous year.  This evidence validates the cheque that each sponsor signs on an annual basis and is a really useful tool for senior executives to review to understand the value that they receive from a partnerships.

10.     Have fun!  Last but not least, make sure you have fun doing what you do.  It shows and will only add value to all the other points above.

I shall elaborate on several of these points over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned.  In the meantime, I’m curious to know what habits, if any, you would add to this list if you could?

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Activation Takeaways from the London Olympic Games

I find it hard to believe that the Olympic Games Closing ceremonies were already 2 months ago.  I personally enjoyed an amazing three weeks in England during the festivities.  The atmosphere in Olympic Park was amazing and one that I shall treasure forever.   I was also excited to experience some of LOCOG’s Olympic partner activation first hand.   While most of us don’t have the luxury of working with the large activation budgets that Olympic sponsors are blessed with, there are two takeaways that, regardless of budget, I believe any organization should strive for when considering activation:

1)      Integration –Sponsorship has the ability to serve a wide range of business needs and should be embraced by an organization in its entirety.  It can achieve so many business objectives many of which have historically been accomplished piecemeal through advertising, cause marketing programs, event sponsorships and corporate social responsibility efforts.   Coca-Cola’s activation of London 2012 is a prime example of how an organization can create a single platform to deliver an integrated campaign supporting a broad range of business objectives.  Their Move to the Beat campaign designed to target teens and fuse music and sport together was rolled out in over 100 countries across the world.  The program incorporated not only the Torch Relay, but also included a global print and TV campaign, a feature length documentary, the iconic Coca-Cola Beat Box in the Olympic Park, and Games time refreshments.  Coca-Cola also integrated their support for youth sports and nutrition programs around the world as well as their CSR recycling program which was responsible for recycling over 10 million bottles during 6 weeks around the games.

2)      Think Outside the Box – There really isn’t anything terribly unique or new when it comes to sponsor benefits in agreements, but where the difference lies in how a sponsor activates a deal. The International Olympic Committee’s charter would seem to be quite clear, stating in rule 50 that “commercial installations and advertising signs shall not be allowed in the stadia”.   The team at BMW however delivered an outside of the box plan for the stadium that involved the creation and use of ¼ scale remote control Minis that whizzed around the central area of the Olympic stadium, returning javelins, shots and discuses to competitors.  The iconic silhouette of the Mini was unmistakeable but due to the fact that the Minis carried no specific branding, the IOC to passed the use of the cars.  They proved to be a hit with the spectators as well as the media which provided BMW with additional awareness in an otherwise clean stadium and a boost for their estimated £40M deal with London 2012.

As kudos to BMW’s simple yet remarkably creative activation that delivered practicality and awareness I decided to Digg this article.  I have also become a proud owner of a model Olympic Mini which sits next to my computer as a daily reminder as to how important it is to think outside the box.

What  Olympic sponsorships made an impression on you and what were your sponsorship takeaways from London 2012?

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