By Dan Farkas, Instructor of Strategic Communication, Ohio University
While millions debate Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning, guacamole vs. hummus and the commercial with the horse vs. the commercial with the dog, I see what happens at halftime as an amazing opportunity for every single organization that ever hosts an event. Let’s look at the before, the middle and the end as opportunities to share your brand story.
The Beginning: Show Me The Process
Turn your magic on
To me she’d say
Everything you want is a dream away.
Coldplay and Pepsi offer a behind the scenes look at what it takes to get the halftime show off the ground. That’s an insanely larger project with one of the world’s most popular bands; your event probably doesn’t require a documentary.
But in a world where transparency continues to grow in importance, behind the scenes photos, outtakes and walkthroughs can help the audience understand the path taken to get to the destination. It can also incentivize and motivate participation. At worst, it promotes transparency and goodwill, a resource every brand wants to have more of in 2016.
The Middle: Be In The Moment
Let me take you on an escapade. Let’s go.
The last time the Carolina Panthers played in the Super Bowl, Janet Jackson made headlines for the wrong reason. But one of Jackson’s most famous songs reminds me of a lesson brands struggle to corral.
People like the opportunity to be guided. When customers go to a store, they want to shop in privacy but have that ability to quickly obtain information from a clerk or associate. That same kind of digital artery must exist during an event.
I teach for a living. Some students simply don’t want to verbally ask questions; they will email, text or tweet in a heartbeat. Having that social infrastructure in place to address questions and help guide people if needed is crucial during an event. This means thinking of frequently asked questions (and having answers), allocating resources for social listening tools (I love BuzzSumo, and my university deals with Astute Solutions), and devoting hours to addressing those issues (even if the conference adjourned for the day.)
The End: What’s Next?
You’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
Bruno Mars made headlines with his Super Bowl performance. As good as his set was, Mars was even more on point after the show.
When fans went to brunomars.com, the homepage immediately took fans to tour dates; those tickets happened to go on sale the next day. Mars capitalized on an energetic performance with the ability to sell hundreds of thousands of tickets the next week. Concerts, and all the swag artists sell at the shows, is where the money is made in music these days. Mars made the most of a historic moment and turned it into value that spans years.
For brands, events come and go. Then what? The brands that answer this question with an eye on conversion get the trophy. Too often the identification of this efficiency is a lost opportunity; this is a missed field goal in a two-point game, and the results from that kind of miss can sting lost past the game day.
More than 100 million people will watch a football game Sunday. How many will make the most of what happens at halftime to create super opportunities for the future? The playbook is out there. Find a way to score a social touchdown with your brand today.