For Sony Europe their recent social media campaign for their new low-light photo cameras was something very different indeed. Whilst many international companies like Old Spice, Tipex and Cisco are used to product launches that are social network heavy or sometimes even solely online launches, with the offline stuff coming much later on, Sony is definitely not. In fact as Ruth Speakman, head of consumer PR and social media at Sony Europe commented on their latest choice to push towards social media â€˜For Sony, it was revolutionaryâ€™
Historically Sonyâ€™s past campaigns have depended on the traditional model of marketing, utilizing press, TV and cinema advertising in their peak sales months from October to December. â€œWe wanted to get away from that peak and trough mentality,â€ says Speakman. â€œWe knew that consumers were willing to purchase cameras all year round. We just had to work out a way to reach them.â€
And thatâ€™s just what they did. Taking the cameras supreme ability to capture images and video in low light situations Sony used social media to advertise for footballers all over Europe to apply to take part in seven very special football matches. The games would all take places at twilight and in seven spectacular locations around the world including the Australian outback and a floating football pitch in Venice.
Not only that but to help capture the events, photographers were also recruited using online competitions and were each given a new Sony camera featuring the brand new low light capturing Exmor R CMOS technology. International bloggers too were given the chance to take part. Known as â€˜Twilight Huntersâ€™ these online writers were enlisted to help create an online buzz prior and during each of the football matches.
But how did a company with very little experience in social media networking and online promotion manage to go from zeros to heroes in an area they knew nothing about?
Well they had a little help of course. London based agency, Immediate Future, worked tirelessly creating online profiles, conversations, competitions, and not only managing but also measuring the results. They also oversaw the recruitment of footballers, photographers and bloggers. As an experienced social media agency they were able to get Sony heard, and more importantly talked about, at the right times, by the right people.
â€œWith social media itâ€™s about setting measurable goals from the outset,â€ explains Katy Howell, MD at Immediate Future. â€œItâ€™s not just about â€™raising brand awarenessâ€™. Thatâ€™s too simplified. At the start of the Twilight Football campaign, we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve and how we were going to achieve it.â€
Immediate Future were given three months to recruit online via Sonyâ€™s Twitter account @sonyeurope and then posted their entries on branded Twilight Football pages on YouTube and Flickr. The bloggers recruited to help spread the word about the events have proved â€˜invaluableâ€™ to Sony who now have established long lasting relationships with this online community. Not only did these â€˜Twilight Huntersâ€™ become ambassadors for Sony as a brand they also helped Sony collect data on their business operation and performance which they might not have otherwise found.
So what were the aims of this online promotion? The main one was to showcase the capability of the technology in a consumer friendly manner and to spark interest from mainstream audiences around the products. Not only that, Sony wanted to stop their peak and trough sales around the October-December markets and create a buzz around a product that would last all year long.
And did it work? Videos for the campaign were viewed over two million times and online talk lasted an astounding 9 months. Whilst sales of Sonyâ€™s Cyber-shot TX1 exceeded forecasts by 27% while sales of the Cyber-shot WX1 exceeded forecasts by 45%. â€œThe ROI was an outstanding â‚¬12.5m,â€ says Speakman. So weâ€™d jolly well say it worked, and it worked a treat.
When asked what the most important of the campaign was Speakman replied;
â€œWe had to ensure we had time for conversations. In a traditional campaign we would buy creative time and air time. With social media we had to buy â€™people timeâ€™. Because when bloggers or journalists are asking for back-stories, graphics, buttons, video clips or images you have to respond quickly. That was a real shift in how things are done.
Source material: Marketing weekly