How brands can score with influencer marketing at Euro 2020

Whether you’re a sports brand or not, the Euro 2020 tournament offers a big opportunity for marketers. / Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash.

What’s the one thing that football fans and CMOs have in common? If they’re committed to their role, they’re already getting excited about Euro 2020 this summer.

With ad spend set to skyrocket and marketers having access to the eyes and ears of a nation, it’s a no brainer for brands to piggyback off the euro success. Whether you’re a sports brand looking to make the most of the Euros 2020, or a business operating in an entirely different industry, aligning your marketing to the tournament will be extremely beneficial.

So, how can brands win at Euro 2020?

Everyone is on the phone

During the Euros, everyone is on their phones. Whether they’re looking to see multiple scores at one time, keeping up to date with the discussions on Twitter, placing a bet, or just looking for some entertainment in between games, people are guaranteed to be on their phones.

This means that the social media landscape is open and ready for marketers to reap the rewards. Plus, with the potential for relevancy at an all-time high for brands who participate in euro-fever, social media’s CPM model is likely to be a very popular choice for brands. By investing in social campaigns on an impression basis, brands will be able to take a risk-averse approach with potentially massive gains.

As the Euros increase traffic to social media sites, they consequently create a very fertile environment for social media marketing. This will see a move away from thoughtless sponsorship campaigns that use famous faces to get by, and a move toward creative and targeted social media campaigns.

During the recent world cup, former Paddy Power ‘head of mischief’, Ken Robertson, joked that CMOs spending up to £100 million on a top-level football sponsorship “should be shot”, and it's hard to disagree. But instead of opting for huge sponsorship deals with sports stars, brands should consider working with creators to produce relevant reactive content around the matches. With increased traffic on social media, creator-led content is the perfect, cost-effective solution.

For example, a food delivery brand could choose to partner with a football creator with a highly engaged community. The brand could ask the creator to do a live stream of their reaction to a particular game, as the creator’s community will be flocking to their platform to see the creator’s thoughts around the match. The creator could then order a meal using the food delivery service at the beginning of the stream and offer their followers a personalised discount code to use during the game. This will allow the brand to track the creator’s downloads directly while also aligning themselves with the fervour around the tournament.

Get creative with ambassadors

Using ambassadors can be an amazing way to engage an audience during the Euros 2020.

However, if you do this with a lack of creativity then you’ll soon find that you’re not getting the engagement you could achieve. Consumers are expecting more from brands than a simple ambassador-led campaign that pushes a product, instead they want engaging content that they can get involved with.

To match these consumer expectations, brands should choose a combination of sports creators and football legends, as well as creators from other verticals, to be sure to generate reach, relevance and engagement through creativity.

For example, during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Influencer worked with Chinese electronics manufacturer Hisense, official sponsor and television supplier to the tournament. With stops in Spain, France, England, Germany and finally Russia, the campaign objective was to assist Hisense in reaching and engaging with their customers on a global stage.

However, this campaign didn’t rely on ambassadors or football legends alone, we wanted to work with regular creators too so that we could be sure to engage a wide demographic. We recruited leading macro entertainment, lifestyle and football freestyle creators from each country listed above, to help promote Hisense’s #SeeTheIncredibleTour. Each creator watched a game with a football legend and produced a YouTube vlog dedicated to the experience. Content was also posted across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with main posts and stories and was able to capture their incredible experience.

The campaign drove brand awareness and increased traffic to Hisense’s global social channels, while providing consumers with enjoyable and creative authentic content to tune in to on a regular basis throughout the World Cup.

Engage with traffic on streaming services

Euro 2016 was seen by 2 billion, with 600 million tuning in to watch the final. And 2020 is only predicted to be bigger. We all lead busy lives, and the amount of games during the Euros means that we’re not going to be able to catch everyone. As a result, people who aren’t able to watch the games live, will be turning to streaming services and social media to catch up with what went on instead.

Even those who aren’t football fans will be seeing memes on their timeline and engaging in smaller chunks of content that inform them of the latest Euro news. The nature of a tournament like the Euros means that it becomes a national conversation - one that everyone is involved in.

For this reason, brands can succeed by providing short nuggets of information and updates via creators that will allow them to engage with a range of consumers in an authentic way, and provide them with the content they are genuinely looking for.

Many young people consume content in smaller nuggets, especially on social media, so brands should consider partnering with creators and publishers to create short segment highlight content that can be easily consumed and shared on social media.

These short segment updates can work for a variety of communities, because during a big football occasion like the Euros, everyone is engaged. As such, there is a very exciting opportunity for brands to provide content that informs ‘non-traditional’ football communities about what’s going on and engaging with this new traffic that they wouldn’t normally have access to.

Be reactive as well as proactive

The World Cup fever of 2018 showed us just how crucial it was for brands to be reactive as well as proactive during the event. Whilst proactive campaigns can be perfect for partnering with one-off ambassadors or putting together a well thought out campaign, reactive relevancy is often the kind of content that will go viral.

This is why it is great to combine both to seek out the most divisive and memorable moments of the Euros and ride that wave of engagement. Reactive relevancy requires a bit more on the spot thinking and creativity, but the results can be incredible.

A perfect example of this was during the 2018 World Cup, when England manager Gareth Southgate’s navy waistcoat became a symbol of England’s success and an overnight viral hit.

Marks & Spencer, the official suit supplier to the England team, stated that demand for waistcoats has risen 35% thanks to “the Gareth Southgate effect”. Prior to the World Cup, this could not have been predicted by brands. During the World Cup, #WaistcoatWednesday began trending on social media, with many in the UK opting to wear a waistcoat to work in support of the England team. By honing in on the specifics of the event as they happened, brands were able to join in the conversation and target the global community that are all taking a shared interest in the cultural nuances of the event.

Get sport relevant

Whether you’re a sports brand or not, making yourself known to and becoming relevant to the Euros is going to be very beneficial. If you’re looking to engage a new audience, then building credibility by making your brand sport relevant is a must.

The biggest draw to becoming sport relevant for the Euros is that you’ll attract more than just a sporting or football audience. In the UK and across Europe, the Euros become a national event that everyone celebrates, so becoming sport relevant can have a broader effect than just reaching football fans.

If you can combine your non-sporting product with the event in a way that makes it sports relevant, then you will be winning the Euros. Back in the 2018 Winter Olympics, P&G nailed this concept, by using creative storytelling to craft a link between their non-sporting products and the event. P&G masterfully positioned their products as an enabler for mothers to support their future Olympian heroes with some clever creative storytelling. The campaign pulled on the heartstrings of a non-sporting audience who were accessible to the brand because of this one-off event.

The Euros present brands with a similar opportunity to reach these non-sporting communities by aligning their products with the event and becoming ‘sports relevant’.

With the Euros 2020 approaching, it’s time to consider the ways that you can power up your marketing for the big event. Get in touch to find out how you can win at Euro 2020.

Ben Woollams is sales director at Influencer

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