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Volume 25 No. 133
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Developing Quick, Quality Executions Seen As Critical For Today's Consumers

Doing something quickly and doing it well often seem mutually exclusive, but developing quality creative and executing it in real time is crucial to appealing to today’s consumers. That was the sentiment expressed by a panel of veteran marketers at the '15 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium in N.Y. USOC CMO Lisa Baird shared the feeling of “breathlessness” she had during a social media campaign that she worked on with retail partner J.C. Penney -- pushing “Go USA” mittens during Super Bowl XLVIII -- that got off to a rocky start when tweets were misspelled and the weather was unexpectedly warm in N.Y. Baird: “There’s a risk there. You’ve got big companies with a lot of people whose hands need to be on the wheel of brand messaging. Now try to do it real time.” But Coca-Cola Senior VP/Connections, Investment & Assets Ivan Pollard said brands need to embrace that high-octane approach, adding, “Companies have got to get used to allowing the hands to come off the wheel. Fast is good. Good is better. … Both is obviously best.” United Airlines Managing Dir of Marketing & Product Development Mark Krolick pointed out that messaging on platforms like Twitter and Instagram offer brands a low-cost venue to test new strategies and quickly learn how best to engage audiences, relative to the big bet that brands place on expensive TV spots that may or may not resonate.

TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE: With a Momentum-created American Express-sponsored virtual reality experience featuring Maria Sharapova set up just outside the conference room, the immersive medium as a means to engage consumers was another hot topic on the panel. Momentum CTO Jason Alan Snyder stressed that while VR is relatively nascent, it is important to brands simply because consumers want to be there. Devils and Prudential Center Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer Daniel Cherry III said he sees virtual reality as a way for teams to monetize the at-home fan experience as well as the in-arena experience. “How do you extend that in-arena experience to those on the sofa and otherwise?” said Cherry. “What you’re not getting right now as an arena operator, a team operator, is that revenue of that person staying home.” Baird, citing a recent USOC experiential tour that involved a Samsung-created VR experience, said that fans who experience the simulation inherently go to social media and tell others about it, creating a “constant amplification effect.” Krolick said United has explored VR from a product-development standpoint, with the possibility of offering it to passengers in-flight as a way to escape the monotony of a long trip.

Quick Hits:
* Pollard, on the rigidity of contracts with sports properties: “When we’re getting data streams telling us this particular asset and this particular media mix are performing and driving our business in this particular way, how we actually swing the contacts to be able to help us optimize that is a real challenge for us.”

 * Pollard: “Is it more difficult to make a great ad for Snapchat than it is to make a great ad for the first episode of the Letterman show years ago? No, actually. It’s the same dynamics.”

 * Baird, on using technology to create connections with athletes: “We have an advantage because our athletes are so accessible. You can actually have an intimate conversation with a water polo player. You can actually come and get answers. We’re trying to leverage that by saying, ‘Let’s use whatever technology we have to break down that barrier.’ Because that’s what we’re finding people want, that access in a very intimate way.”