Brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to connect with their audiences, build a loyal fan base, and cultivate a thriving online community. Live streaming is one way to do this. It’s everywhere, and its function as a useful marketing tool has become increasingly apparent.
YouTube first launched live streaming on its platform, way back in 2008, but it’s specifically in the past 3 years that the medium has undergone a considerable transformation. Live streaming in the experiential industry now provides brands with a unique opportunity to connect to audiences far and wide, transporting them to the epicentre of your experience.
The business opportunity
Unlike traditional events IRL, live streaming transcends geographical barriers, connecting brands with diverse audiences they mightn’t have reached otherwise. As a result, brands can now capture the attention and loyalty of a vast online community. When executed effectively, brands now have the ability to create immersive and interactive events that resonate with audiences – globally. Driving brand awareness, creating deeper connections, and ultimately translating into measurable business growth and increased ROI.
Until recently, music festivals were categorised into a ‘you had to be there’ kind of experience. Yet the COVID-19 storm turned this slogan inside out, and an uplift in live streaming changed festivals into a ‘you can be there – sort of’ moment. Opening festival doors to a whole host of thankful music fans online. Thanks to live streaming, festivals now represent multi-faceted fan engagement hubs which fans worldwide can tune into, enjoy and experience in a different way. It’s also allowed festival sponsors to engage with a community of fans that goes far beyond those with a paper ticket in hand.
In 2022, even the organisers of Notting Hill Carnival announced their pilot live streaming of the annual event, in order to protect their prospective festival goers against the spread of COVID-19. This year, they intend to do the same. Yet the threat of COVID is, for some, a somewhat distant memory.
Revitalise a brand
Engaging fan bases via live streams starts with captivating content. Live streams can be an excellent aid for your brand to develop any themes, topics, or formats that resonate with your target audience. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes access, exclusive interviews, product reveals, or interactive Q&A sessions, live streams offer the chance to lend valuable, often exclusive content to a wider audience.
A great example is Accenture Song’s “Live stream” for Land Rover, winner of Campaign Tech Awards 2023: Best Use of Tech in Out-Of-Home. Land Rover had seen a 6% decrease in popularity since 2016. Scary stuff for their marketing team. To combat this, they knew they needed to rejuvenate an affinity between the brand and ‘the outdoors’ and shake off the ‘chelsea tractor’ connotations. To return to their ‘Active Achiever’, explorer roots, Land Rover turned to livestreams. A live feed projecting nearby rivers, quarry’s, and waterfalls popped up in busy urban hubs as a way to cut through the chaos of city life and remind consumers of ‘the great outdoors’. The campaign coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week and springboarded off the stat that we need 2 hours of outdoor exposure a week for our mental and physical well-being, but often fall short. Land Rover’s live streams increased brand positivity by 13%. Success.
Engage Generation Z
Could we really write an article about live streaming without touching on Gen Z?
The magic of live streaming lies in its ability to create real-time interactions for those who normally consume content from behind a screen. Gen Z, known as the digital-first generation, were raised alongside technology. During lockdown, some even sat their A levels virtually. At such a developmental age, they found comfort in digital. To engage Gen Z effectively, you’ve got to understand the ways they like to consume media, and leverage it.
Which is why this year, Coca-Cola upscaled their festival strategy with their app designed to unite consumers to performers. Coke capitalised on performers with pre-established fan-bases, and provided a connection between the two via the Coca-Cola App. Leveraging live streams allowed Coke to engage artists’ fan bases at some of the biggest festivals worldwide, think Coachella, Pride, and Tomorrowland. The majority of Gen Z aren’t even old enough to get into the festivals they’re tuning into, so in live streaming, they’ve an opportunity to experience the performances they so desperately crave through curated, age-appropriate content which involves them in the moment – and all thanks to Coca-Cola. That’s where the magic of live streaming lies – crafting shared memories between brands and fans and transforming the exclusive, into inclusive.