Marketing Lessons from London
The London Olympics were the first-ever social media Olympics. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms transformed the way spectators watch, share and communicate about the competition and athletes. As marketers prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, they know the bar for related social media content is set even higher.
While Olympics organizers are preparing Brazil’s infrastructure for a flood of international visitors, here’s what brands who are preparing advertising campaigns for the 2016 Games need to know:
- Thirst for content is international. The staggering online audience for the 2012 Games (an estimated 55 million global viewers) underscores the growing demand for high-quality, multicultural information on the Internet. Advertisers and sponsors need to begin creating videos, blogs, images, infographics and more – all optimized for a global audience. Microsoft media experts predict that by 2014, more than 220 million people around the world will head to their PCs or mobile devices instead of their television sets to watch programming. And less than half of that population speaks English.
- Content must be inclusive. The Olympics promote unity and celebration of cultural diversity. As such, the online content around the Games must be a reflection of many countries and languages. Global spectators have the expectation that they can go to the Internet and easily watch, understand, and enjoy social media content that crosses language and cultural barriers.
- Social media beats broadcast. Brands that launched social media campaigns supporting the London Games saw online mentions of their company names more than double during the two-week duration of the Olympics, according to a recent study by social media analyst firm Bluefin Labs. Further, The New York Times reported that NBC saw a huge surge in last-minute Olympics advertising insertion requests specifically for web-based video content. For the first time in Olympics history, brands were willing to pay higher rates for online video advertising insertions than for network TV ads.
London success story: making a global video sensation
Social media marketers preparing their campaigns for the 2016 Olympics should look at the success of Santa Monica, Calif.-based digital advertising agency The ZiZo Group. The agency, specializing in the creation of social media content, was hired by a major U.S. sponsor as part of the largest social media video campaign in Olympic history, “Raising an Olympian,” a collection of inspiring profiles of the moms of international Olympic athletes. The agency traveled the globe for nearly a year to film 21 videos for the series. The clips were created in 10 different languages in addition to English and began airing on the Internet in April – a full three months before the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.
For a global project of this scope, the creative team knew that accurate language translation and cultural localization of the content would be vital to viewer engagement. That’s why The ZiZo Group partnered with a language service provider during the entire production process, from script creation to post-production subtitles. The clips were shot in each interview subject’s native language, and then translated and/or subtitled. Source languages included French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and two Indian dialects. Viewers from all over the world have watched and shared the videos, even months after the Olympics ended.
Looking ahead: all eyes on Rio
Keep in mind that while Portuguese remains the primary language of Brazil, most consumers in this country are bilingual at the least. Other languages spoken there include Spanish, German, and several indigenous languages. Just appealing to the consumer base in Brazil will require a multilingual social media strategy; now widen that to the world stage, who will be eager to once again leverage the Internet to connect and share their Olympics experiences.
With four years to prepare, brands hoping to maximize their investment in a presence at the Rio Olympics have time to refine their strategies. To succeed, these strategies must include messages in multiple languages that are inclusive and culturally sensitive. With the first social media Olympics behind us, the pressure in 2016 will be greater than ever before to make sure the right messages are reaching the right people – in the language they prefer.
About the author: Liz Elting co-founded TransPerfectin 1992. Today, TransPerfect is the world’s largest privately held provider of language and business services, with more than $300 million in revenue. The company operates in 70 countries with more than 2,000 employees worldwide. Elting oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, headquartered in New York City. Elting has earned numerous awards for her outstanding entrepreneurship, including Working Woman's Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Customer Service, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and American Express and Entrepreneur’s Woman of the Year Award.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”