Tomorrow, when the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins in Brazil, many around the world will be duking it out against their competitors and they won’t be close to a soccer pitch. They will be in the marketing offices of global brands as they try to win over the mindshare of consumers. Why the fuss? Well, there aren’t too many events that capture the attention of so many people in such a short period of time. For example, during the 2010 World Cup, it is estimated that more than 3.2 billion people watched at least one minute of live coverage of the tournament. Only the Summer Olympics comes close to these type of numbers.
In an article late last year, an Adweek article aptly described the World Cup as “a marketer’s dream but also a potential nightmare.” Yes, it is a huge marketing opportunity but it comes with a couple of key constraints:
- Soccer is played in 45-minute continuous halves so commercials are limited to before a match, during halftime, and after a match.
- FIFA, the international governing body of soccer that organizes the World Cup, limits the number of sponsorship packages available.
As a result of these constraints, social media marketing has become the battleground where brands try to win over consumers. As the Adweek article pointed out,
“…Brazil’s World Cup will be the most cluttered social conversation ever. According to Twitter, three separate soccer matches have already achieved higher tweets-per-second peaks than the 2012 London Olympics. The 2012 Euro Cup final alone generated 16.5 million total tweets from a viewing audience of just under 300 million. The last World Cup final drew more than twice as many viewers, and that’s just one game. There will be 64 matches next summer generating hundreds of millions of social mentions. That massive chatfest equates to a greater opportunity for earned media, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to stand out.”
So how does a global brand win the social media marketing battle during the World Cup? How do they publish – and promote – the right messages, in the right channels, in the right countries, in order to have their brand rise above their competitors? Well, at a high level, they need to be able to measure the results of their efforts and quickly make adjustments based on what they are seeing. But this is easier said than done, considering how complex a brand’s social media ecosystem has become.
Many global brands have a large web of social properties. They not only have a presence for their primary brand in various social channels but they also have a presence in each channel for different segments of their business, like different markets/countries or different products.
Let’s take Nike as an example. Nike has a lot to gain – or lose – during this year’s World Cup. They and Adidas dominate the soccer category within the sporting goods business. But Adidas is taking this World Cup very seriously, as they are one of the top-tier sponsors of FIFA. So Nike has to make sure they bring their “A game” to win the social marketing battle.
If you look at Nike’s social marketing assets, particularly in the soccer/football area, it is obvious they take things very seriously. Here’s just a snapshot of some of their social media assets:
- Facebook – Their primary soccer/football brand page is available in 60 (!) different regions/languages. In addition, they have pages for certain products, like the Nike Magista and the Nike Mercurial.
- Twitter – They have Twitter accounts for different countries/regions (see here, here, and here, for examples), as well as for products like the Nike Mercurial.
- YouTube – They have eight different channels under the Nike Football brand for different regions/languages, as well as channels for products like the Nike Magista.
There are good reasons for a global brand to have so many different social properties:
- Messages can be localized or targeted to a distinct audience.
- Detailed insights can be extracted. For instance, most companies do not measure social media results by individual products except in cases where a separate property is created for the product. By having a separate property for a product, it is possible to measure and compare engagement for each individual product.
However, having so many different social properties also has its disadvantages:
- The size of an audience is smaller, which limits virality.
- Communicating global messages consistently is difficult.
- Managing all of the properties, and reporting on each one of them, is complex and has a lot of overhead.
But in an event like the World Cup, when making timely adjustments can be the difference between winning or losing the mindshare of consumers, how does a global brand analyze the effects different messages are having in different channels in different countries? To perform such analysis, every message needs to be tagged with key dimensions (e.g., channel names, country names, product names). There are generally two different approaches to tagging social messages – manual and automatic.
The common approach to manual tagging of messages is to tag the message when it is being developed and before it is published. Many social media management solutions support this approach. The downsides of this approach are that it increases the effort required for posting messages, and there is little guarantee that the tags will be set correctly or consistently.
At Origami Logic, we decided to support both manual and automatic tagging of social messages when we designed our Marketing Intelligence Platform. For manual tagging, however, we took a different approach. Rather than relying on the tagging of messages before they are published, we let marketers easily search through past social messages by defining a criteria; for example, “all social messages that mention Ronaldo and that have been shared more than 1000 times.” Then, after they get the results they are looking for, marketers can tag the relevant messages and use the tags for detailed analysis of their social marketing efforts.
Uniquely, the Origami Logic solution also supports the automatic tagging of social messages. The solution remembers the criteria used for a particular tag – say, “high performing Ronaldo messages” – and then automatically applies it to all new incoming messages.
With Origami Logic, since social messages are easily categorized, there is no need to have lots of different social properties, or to manually tag messages prior to posting. This means less time needs to be spent on setting things up and more time can be spent on doing detailed analysis of what’s working and what’s not.
So let the games begin and good luck to all global brand marketers as you compete in the social media marketing battleground!
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