How Brand Journalists Can Create Olympic-Sized Content

August 2, 2012

For many brands, the true potential of social media marketing is unlocked when it’s used to bridge online and offline engagement. Sponsorships are an incredible opportunity to connect these dots. How exactly does a brand go about doing this? Take a look at the smart folks at Chobani Greek yogurt and what they’re doing with this summer’s Olympic games in London.

An Olympic sponsorship is a massive undertaking and Chobani has some big cohorts such as stalwarts Visa and McDonald’s. Aware of the fact that this is indeed a big commitment for a relatively new brand, they are maximizing this opportunity to the fullest. If you’ve been watching the games you’ve no doubt noticed that the Greek yogurt is airing a targeted TV message celebrating their brand values, people, and the Olympics themselves.

“Our entire Olympic campaign circles around our community,” said Emily Schildt, Director of Consumer Engagement at Chobani. “Our commercial features real neighbors from our hometown in Chenango County, whom we brought along with our employees and hundreds of others close to us for a live, big-screen viewing of the Opening Ceremony and our commercial.”

However, a more cost-effective and powerful arm of the strategy is taking place online, where Chobani is creating compelling content from the games and sharing it across social channels. Olympic-themed Twitter conversations are convened around the branded hashtag #chobanipowered. These submissions are all collected on the brand’s Facebook page, under the #chobanipowered tab.

“To make the inclusion official, we’re sending a Chobani Olympic pin to every fan that shares with us,” added Schildt. “I didn’t realize just how valuable these pins are until coming to London — they’re like gold!”

Chobani sent Schildt and a few others to London to gather and share visual content from the games on the brand’s Instagram feed (@chobani) and Pinterest page. They’ve also shared the infographic below which connects their product to the games through its role as a healthy, low-cal food in the training of various Olympic athletes (it doesn’t hurt that this is a great fit of sponsor and event too; one could argue that Greek yogurt has an easier path to a relevant Olympic message than a credit card).

When the games conclude, the Chobani team plans on sharing the greatest hits of the content they collected in a post and on their social channels.

Brand Journalism on the Beat

What can you learn from this seemingly “little brand that could” and their tales of triumph at the Olympic Games? For starters, commit some personnel to the cause to attend the event on-site and connect these online and offline brand touch points.

What does this on-site presence do? This is a great place to introduce the concept of ‘brand journalism.’ Simply put, like the talented Ms. Schildt, a brand journalist at an event like this becomes very much like an embedded journalist in a war zone. While the stakes are much less life threatening, there’s still a lot going on around you and at the end of the day no one else can file your story. You need to create compelling content that tastefully marries your brand with the event by any means necessary — photos (you could even try tricking out your Instagram feed with the Over app for an added layer of content), videos, interviews, and more.

But This Is the Olympics! How Does It Help My Car Wash in Peoria?!

Don’t get down if you’re a local business or a (perceived to be) un-sexy B2B marketer. Get over it! The same strategies — connecting online and offline engagement through an embedded brand journalist — work the same whether you’re in London or Lodi.

For example, let’s say your car wash in Peoria is sponsoring a local heart walk. Couldn’t you lift some of these same tactics like creating a branded hashtag for your company’s team and sending someone to the event to nab photos that they can post in real-time? Couldn’t you find a unique infographic or create a video to share? It sounds simple but sending someone to document your events is often missed by smaller brands who lose sight of sponsorships after mailing their check and a vector file of their logo.

And like Chobani, don’t forget that your opportunity doesn’t end when the events over. Leverage all of the content that you gathered after the fact in summary blog posts and social updates.

Go for the Gold

As Chobani has shown us, you don’t need to be a big brand to create Olympic-sized content. And you don’t have to be sponsoring the Olympics to connect your online and offline touch points around events that you sponsor.

How can you connect the dots and go for the gold with your next sponsorship outing?

Photo via Flickr user spcbrass

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.