Thursday, June 24, 2010

Social Media and the World Cup 2010

I've got to say, I'm loving the World Cup. Late nights. Early mornings. The highs like seeing Italy bundled out in the group stages and the lows like seeing Australia skiddled against Germany like a team of under 9's. It's all part of the experience that is the World Cup, a one in four year event. These elements haven't really changed over time though. One thing however that has certainly changed is the way we are communicating it.

Over the years we have seen media evolve in the way it communicates and updates the world about the activity at the World Cup. We started with newspapers, moved on to TV and then of course online. Korea / Japan 2002 in fact was the first time websites were used to promote teams and the event itself. That's an unbelievable thought to me. In 1998 the World Cup didn't have official websites. That's only 12 years ago! Germany 2006 showed some evolution with MySpace and YouTube having recently surfaced and were used by companies with foresight like Adidas, Nike and Coca Cola to build communities. But at that time Twitter was in its early infancy and Facebook was still restricted to university students.

The World Cup acts as a great marker to show us how far and fast we've come in terms of how social media impacting our lives. And Facebbok and especially Twitter are being instrumental in the way we are communicating the event in 2010. On Facebook the Fifa World Cup South Africa 2010 page has over 126,000 'likers' that receives hundreds of comments and likes per post and there are countless spin offs and country pages as well. Media platforms are also using Facebook to extend their presence at the game. ESPN for example have over 497,000 'likers' of their World Cup on ESPN page. Amazing stats. Twitter is also kicking goals. The @fifacom twitter handle has over 80,000 followers and even Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is tweeting every day. He has 31,000 followers. Twitter has been such a thorn in the dressing rooms of many countries that Holland, England and Spain have all banned it's use during the World Cup! Not so in the Brazillian change rooms though with star player Kaka tweeting almost hourly. Not to miss out on the fun Foursquare has also partnered with CNN to release 2 World Cup Badges, 'South Africa Explorer' for those on the ground and 'Super Fan' for those following from viewing parties around the world.

Social Media has come a long way in a short time as we all know. And it's times like these that you can recognize how it has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and find out information. Are you more curious or scared about what's next?! I'm still deciding...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The New Age Marketing department

Spinning balls, trend trackers and social graphs set up in one room as if NASA was trying to find water on Mars. One small step for Gatorade but potentially one massive leap for Marketing.

In a social media first it seems the Pepsi Co. company has set up a control room that tracks online data, listens to and helps marketers participate in online conversations with customers and monitors trends and social media buzz. From this control room insights can then be gained which mould marketing strategies and impacting on product design / brand positioning. Quite revolutionary I must say.

I think this is a great initiative from their marketing department. Social media is so ingrained in our daily (hourly...) activities that a set up like this puts the Gatorade brand on the front foot to adapt to ever changing consumer needs. Of course such a spend could only be justified by big global brands with big global audiences like Gatorade but it is certainly an initiative that could be taken up by more and more companies as more minutes are spent on more social media platforms as time goes on.

Check out Gatorade's introductory video below.