Social media is changing advertisers' preferences and evolving as the new playground for brands. Ninety five per cent sports fans on Twitter follow brands/companies. With the cricket frenzy returning this week, brands have the opportunity to take a big chunk out of the cricket pie.
Twitter has established itself as the world's largest couch for sports with the emergence of the digital media interface and changing consumer preferences. On a year-on-year basis, comparing 2014 to 2015, there has been a 91 per cent increase in the mention of cricket in India.
Brands must focus on audience-inclusive campaigns to ensure they grab the attention of their audience online during the match and post to engage their potential customers. Below are the four pro tips brands must keep in mind to engage actively with their audience:
1. Engage in real-time with audience insights
Cricket fans are going to follow the matches live. Cheer on their favourite teams and share real-time reactions that show your brand cares about cricket as much as they do. Think about Oreo's Dunk in the Dark tweet during the Superbowl orSnickers' tweet reaction to Luis Suarez's fiasco. Closer home, @PepsiIndia congratulated @mipaltan with "last can standing", and Club Mahindra's art work tweets were amazing responses to live moments on the ground. Club Mahindra worked with its art team to share amazing responses to live moments on the ground with users. It took 'engaging with fans' to another level, asking people to share how they were watching the match and have its art team draw up an instant tweet with a rendition of that moment for fans. AltoK10 being a youthful brand similarly used comicstrips to comment on topical situations.
These are moments to be enjoyed by brands and fans alike, and require live reactions for maximum impact. As a public platform with more than 500 million tweets every day, Twitter is the world's largest focus group for audience insights. Brands should follow the real-time conversations on #WT20 and consider conducting polls in anticipation and feedback -- take a leaf from Reuters India.
2. Enhance the game experience with live video and creativity
Be creative and have fun with match highlights and increase engagement with cricket fans. During last year's Cricket World Cup, Cadbury 5 star did a series of Vines that drove impressive engagement. Similarly, KingFisher created the longest hi5 chain between IPL players from different teams. This year,
3. Extend the fan fever through TV and Twitter
The cricket fever will not be limited to the stadium. Cricket fans who are not in the stadium will be glued to their screens, both on television and Twitter. Brands need to look for opportunities to maximise recall through amplification. The Twitter Amplify programme lets broadcasters publish the best content directly to Twitter, and then monetise that content with advertisers through sponsorship packages. For advertisers, Twitter Amplify extends the reach of TV sponsorships into mobile and social areas, letting them tap into the social conversation on Twitter. In the US, NBA partnered with @JBLAudio to promote #NBAAllStarTO via Twitter Amplify. In the UK, Sky Sports News worked with @VodafoneUK to promote #DeadlineDay via Twitter Amplify as well. Brands in India can similarly look to capture the real-time impact for cricket.
4. Engage with global counterparts
India was to play South Africa in what was expected to be a really tough match. KitKat made it a little more interesting by tweeting out to their counterparts in South Africa. A fun banter ensued that had fans tweeting about all day!
Advertising online during the cricket season, is a must have in the overall marketing mix to build brand affinity today. We look forward in excitement to the matches, and expect brands to do the same.
Key statistics and data sources:
Nielsen Twitter Consumer Deep Dive Survey, Sep 2015, India.
Crimson Hexagon, Jan - Dec 2014 vs Jan - Dec 2015