I have a confession to make – I have become one of the TV-Vampire-watching many. I’m not talking about any of this Twilight rubbish though! Oh no! I am a ‘Being Human’ groupie and I am not afraid to admit it.
The amazing BBC show which features a Vampire, Werewolf and a ghost trying to fit into society and ‘be human’ started its new series a couple of weeks back, and I am already hooked and counting down the days till I can watch the next installment. This time however, it is not just the pure genius of the writing or the cast which has impressed me, but also the inspired online activity.
Additional online content for TV shows is not a new thing, but the team behind ‘Being Human’ have raised the bar this time! So much so, I actually think that there is a lot us marketing people could learn from their approach and engagement tactics.
Their Facebook page is great and really well-managed, with content ranging from countdowns and event invitations to watch the shows (e.g.” just 20 minutes to go till the next episode”), to sneak previews, behind the scene footage for each episode, trailers, and links to their amazing blog. Crucially, it appears to be managed 24/7 , with posts also on a Sunday (the day of the show).
They have also created an online spin-off called ‘becoming human’ which picks up the story of a teenage boy vampire character introduced in the second episode of the new series. These online episodes are supported with ‘clues’ to the mystery as it is unravelled, so far in the form of character profiles and mobile phone videos. These are really nice extras which keep you interested and engaged in the 7 days between shows.
So, what can us digital marketing people learn from their efforts?
- that you should use digital to create an extra depth to your brand, which your target consumers can interact with
- that you should create a ‘buzz’ BEFORE your campaigns go live by generating sneak previews, countdowns and invitations
- that the quality of your online videos should be as good as the work you do for TV
- that you should keep a diary – especially a visual one – of all campaigns as they are produced. People love ‘making of’ content, and it can help to keep you ‘real’ in the eyes of your customers
- that you need to keep things fresh and interesting at ALL times, and not just ‘post and run’
- that you need a plan – I’m sure the Being Human team has a content schedule for their online work which takes them throughout the period of the series and beyond
I’m loving this, and can’t believe that I’ve only just hit upon it even though it all kicked off in May! 22 Swedish Digital Students from Berghs School of Communication came up with this fantastic idea as a way to showcase both themselves and their college.
The live piece of artwork was built using the pictures of people who retweeted- and the more followers you had the larger the space you would take up in it. The whole project was called ‘Don’t tell Ashton’ as at the time the main-man of Twitter would have been one of the only people who could have filled the frame on his own given his staggering amount of followers.
What I really love about this is how simple the idea is. Although the ‘Artwork’ itself is not that pretty (in my opinion), within a week they had reached millions of people and gone global. Within a couple of weeks they were hitting the top of the creative and digital charts, and by the end of the whole campaign the 22 students ended up with great jobs at some of the Worlds top agencies. The course which they were on also had masses of interest spread across 14 countries.
I’ve just read a great post by Richard Lees (dbg) on Econsultancy about keeping viral campaigns going, and how important it is to make sure that you get something from them. He’s been working with Beatbullying’s ‘The Big March’ campaign – the worlds first virtual online protest – in order to make sure that they follow-up on the initial hype and capitalise on their success.
Some key bits of advice from him on thinking ‘long term’:
- Create something which is relevant and wonderful (goes without saying!)
- Excite people
- Think about the channels which are best for communicating with your target audience
- Include clever data capture where possible (getting the right data to ensure ongoing communication is relevent and in the right format)
- Just because someone has engaged with your campaign does not mean that they have an affinity with your brand – Follow up communication should work on creating this
- Follow up should always have a reason, and must absolutely NOT be merged with in-house marketing lists without good reason
- Plan the campaign in full – not just the initial elements, but the 12 months or so following and the materials which will need to be developed in order to keep it alive
Wise words! You can see how these have been put into action if you sign up to the Beatbullying campaign. The website is by far the best charity website I have ever seen, with the design and functionality clearly well thought-out and appealing to both kids and adults alike. You can explore it. It’s fun. It’s full of relevent content in lots of different formats, and it gives you lots of opportunity to ‘spread the word’. Most importantly, it captures data from you the minute you sign up. The supporting Facebook page and Twitter accounts are still very active even though the main online protest event has already happened, and you can see how they are working hard to maintain the momentum which the campaign would have created initially.
I think a lot of valuable lessons can be learnt from this. It would be interesting to see just how many of the most talked about recent viral campaigns have thought this long-term and planned so well for longer term relationships with their supporters!
After a successful campaign last year, British Airways have decided to run their FacetoFace online campaign again this year. Targeting small business, they invite people to pitch their business online and say why the 10 free flights they could win would help them grow. The top 250 entrants will be flown to London for a business networking event, and the top 3 will pitch in person to a specialist panel where the winner will be rewarded with 10 flights to anywhere in the World so they can conduct their business meetings in person.
This video introduces the concept and interviews the successful businesses from 2009
Users of the microsite can vote for their favourite pitch, as well as meet fellow small business owners and experts on business development. The campaign is also supported by a Twitter account, which gives general business advice, as well as a Facebook community.
- They are taking a gamble on a campaign where the ROI is difficult to track
- They are supporting this with tons of content and advice aimed at the small business market after realising that a bulk of their entrants last year came from this group
- They created lots of post campaign marketing tools – video interviews etc. – last year which have been used effectively when running a similar campaign this year
- They are keeping up with it and keeping the content fresh
- Introducing the ability for others to vote on the pitches
- They feed tweets from online influencers into the microsite, and not just their own
What’s not so great:
- The overall design of the microsite is not very inspiring
- The video’s are a little too long – they could do with a shorter and more inspirational video introduction to the overall campaign
- The impact on the planet!!! (lets all fly more and increase our carbon footprints!)