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P&G’s Olympic Social Media Campaign Takes Gold for Brand Building

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P&G's Olympic Branding Win Anyone who has watched even a snippet of prime-time television over the past few weeks has likely been met head-on with those sappy commercials featuring Olympians and their moms. What you’ve probably also noticed (but been far less aware of) is that the incessant mom-thanking has permeated your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds as well – not to mention every other square inch of the interwebs.



Four years ago, there were only 100 million Facebook users in the world. Today? 900 million and growing strong. Twitter’s numbers have jumped as well, and so have the user stats for YouTube, Reddit… you name it. Social media is a way of life now. And the big brands are onto the trend.

Hence the Olympic social media onslaught. Big brother knows where we hang out, and he’s doing his darn best to get our attention. For Proctor & Gamble (P&G) – the corporation that is running what is arguably the biggest social media campaign in the world for the Olympics this year – the strategy is working swimmingly (pun intended).

Olympic Advertising on Social Media

According to USA Today, the reason that social media is so alluring to the big brands is simple. That’s where most of the world is hanging out these days:

USA Today on P&G's Olympic Campaign Wow. Advertising on social media is officially better than television spots? It must be – P&G has country-specific commercial campaigns underway across the globe. Wherever you are, you’ll see ads that end with a link to a Facebook page specifically for your nation.

There’s also a range of warm fuzzy P&G-sponsored videos floating around the ‘net that feature athletes and their moms. These feel-good adverts already boast 28 million views and counting.

P&G is not the only winner, however. Visa’s also in on the action – the credit card mogul has also been hard at work saturating Facebook and other hot online spots long before the games commenced. Visa is testing out Facebook’s new geolocation feature to redirect users to their country’s specific page.

The Multi-Pronged Approach to Social Media Branding

P&G has most definitely saturated every media outlet in, well, the world. But the megacompany played the game impeccably – their efforts, especially in the online realm – are a true branding success story.

The Global Brand Building Officer for P&G is Marc Pritchard, and in a recent interview, he noted how P&G endeavored to construct the “perfect storm” for their branding efforts during the Olympics this year. What he’s talking about is best illustrated by looking at one Olympic volleyball match. During it, this “storm” included television spots mid-match, P&G sponsored “Thank you, Mom” segments, and a flurry of spirited Facebook and Twitter activity happening rapid-fire throughout the game.

When asked about the capital outlay for sponsored stories on Facebook for P&G, Pritchard declined to comment. What he did reveal, however, was that Facebook was only a piece of the overall online brand-building puzzle. He gave Yahoo the nod as the top partner for P&G’s video and display ads.

How You Can Build Your Brand Like the Big Dogs

At this point, you may be wondering what the point of this news is for regular webmasters. Well, it’s simple: So many online marketers rely solely (or very heavily) on one platform to build a brand. Some are obsessed with Facebook. Others are Twitter fanatics. Regardless of vehicle, limiting your brand’s online presence to just one social media outlet is a fatal error that will stifle your growth in a hurry.

That being said, the other lesson we can take from P&G’s Olympic campaign is that quality content is the only kind worth sharing. This should be an understood, but a success story like this reinforces the most important rule of marketing online: The quality of your content matters above all else. It needs to be worth liking, sharing, tweeting, and bookmarking or it might as well not even exist. Think about it: How many times have you watched a boring viral video?

Mix your social mediums, but take a page from P&G’s playbook and adhere to a few key guidelines while you’re building your brand:

1. Know your audience

Social marketing is cutthroat if you’re speaking blindly from an ivory tower. It’s imperative to know your audience if you truly want them to trust you enough to listen. Then it takes an extra step – you need to use that trust wisely when choosing what, when, and how to sell to them.

2. Don’t be flaky

Don’t change your message from one channel to another. The key is to maintain a consistent image and branding across all channels you use so your audience will recognize you from one platform to another.

3. Build a community

One of the most powerful things you can do as a marketer is build a community of like-minded people in your niche. This is your customer base, your crowd. You need to encourage and maintain a constant dialogue in order to keep your finger on the pulse or you risk falling out of touch.

P&G proved that social networks, when used correctly, are a stellar way to build a brand and catapult its influence into the stratosphere. For smaller-time webmasters without billion-dollar budgets, however, the first takeaway is this: Diversify your platforms but keep your message clear, uniform, and consistent.

The second is that content quality reigns supreme. The idea is nothing new, but it bears repeating after witnessing the bang-up job P&G did with their online goodies. People have more choices now than ever before, and producing something truly great is the only way to reach people and hold their attention. Using a mix of content types doesn’t hurt, either.   

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