Sunday, February 16, 2014

5 Olympic tactics offer ideas for association event promotion

P&G photo in USA Today

While associations don’t have huge ad budgets like P&G, Visa or Samsung, associations can “steal” their marketing tactics to help promote their conferences and events.

A recent USA Today story headlined P&G holds early gold in Olympic social media
illustrates the power of stories as told in videos.

Here are the five key elements the USA story and my thoughts for associations, association executives and association meeting planners.

Post early.

  • USA Today: By the start of the Games, P&G and its brands had posted 38 different YouTube videos, says Kamon. In fact, the day the Winter Games began, P&G already had 15.8 million views for its "Pick them Back Up" YouTube video about moms picking up their kids after they fall.
  • SCD Group: Require conference speakers to provide information at least a month before your event. This might be a video clip, a guest blog post or 4-5 Tweets. Start sharing these with attendees and potential attendees three or more weeks before your event. I’ve used this approach to attract standing room only audiences in sessions over the last three or four years.

Tell a story.

  • USA Today: The key to a successful Olympic YouTube video is to come up with a video storyline that is a creative "work of art," says Kamon. That's exactly what P&G did with its "Pick Them Back Up" video, which shows moms helping to lift up their kids through the years.
  • SCD Group: Find and share stories about member success with association services or stories about topics being addressed at your event. Invite sponsors and/or exhibitors to provide stories whether blogs, tweets or videos. You can distribute these before, during and after your conference, convention or event.

Push the tale.

  • USA Today: Besides posting an engaging video about Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson — the first woman to ski jump in an Olympic competition — on its YouTube page, Visa is retweeting everything she says and featuring the ad in a heavy TV rotation, says Kamon.
  • SCD Group: Establish a social media center at your event. Save front-row seats for bloggers and social media folks attending your event. Give them access to speakers and association leaders and association executives. View the bloggers and social media folks as partners rather than competitors to association communications.

Go long.

  • USA Today: Social media success might seem to be about six-second, Vine-like videos, but that's not the key to Olympic success for P&G and Visa, many of whose videos are two minutes or longer. It takes that long, says Kamon, to tell a good story.
  • SCD Group: Recognize that you can use longer-form blogs or videos to get your message through in memorable ways.


  • USA Today: While P&G did the best job garnering interest before the Games, Visa has most moved the needle during the Games, says Kamon. It's pushed out videos on Olympic athletes. Says Kevin Burke, chief marketing officer at Visa, "Success is measured on how people engage with your content.”
  • SCD Group: The “lecture meeting format” has become less effective. Social media tools allow associations to further engage attendees at meetings. I’ve been in audiences where the speaker encourages questions via Twitter and they’ve come from people in the session; people at the conference but not in the session and people not even attending the conference. Some associations post Twitter streams on screens around the meeting site. 

Here are two posts related to the lecture format:

Are Lectures Passe? Does it Impact your Conference/Educational Programming? (Part 1)

If Lectures Are Ineffective, 6 Suggestions to Modify Association Conference/Educational Programming? (Part 2)

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