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When A Real-Life Event Expands to Social Media

Social media is the perfect way to enrich an event. Creating an online attraction can be just as important as the one on the ground. Here’s how a brand gave a local event the kind of reach that is worth emulating.

A business that’s 126 years old. Spread across 60 countries. Selling products ranging from $40 DVD players to MRI scanners that cost $1 million. As far as businesses go, you could almost categorize it in the league of ancients. You might expect such a large conglomerate, that boasts of over 110,000 employees, to face the classic innovator’s dilemma — too large and bound to fail in the face of evolving technology someday.

Except, this brand is no stranger to innovation. In fact, it confidently states “Innovation and you” in its tagline.

Yes, we are talking about Philips Lighting.

Philips has been seducing the world with its innovative concepts for a very long time. From jazzing up Bruno Mars’ concerts to efficiently lighting up cities like  Rotterdam, Philips Lighting has consistently shown that not only does it know how to adapt itself to the changing needs of the environment and economy, it has actually been at the forefront of altering our understanding of light and its applications in creating a harmonious environment.

Innovation at its best © Philips

When The Lighting Giant Met The Festival of Conjurers

Like any major brand, Philips finds itself as the strategic sponsor at several events globally. In 2015, at The Festival of Conjurers (Carnival Sztukmistrzów) Philips turned the ordinary streets of Lublin, Poland into a colorful world of art and entertainment. As the city was taken over by conjurers, jugglers and various other street performers, Philips decided to amuse the visitors at a specially created space known as “The Philips Brothers Square.” Imagine the scene, lit up with 220 dynamically illuminated umbrellas spread over people’s heads, permeating with soap bubbles.

What an Instagram-worthy sight it must have been!

At the Philips Brother Square © Carnival Sztukmistrzów


Turning the ordinary into a work of art © Carnival Sztukmistrzów

But it wasn’t for Philips to just add to the merriment on the streets. Philips took this to the online world too. It created “Social Newsroom,” a command center, that moved out of its corporate office to the heart of the event. It aimed to marry the offline with the online.

Content was produced across 12 online platforms including 6 fan pages, 3 Instagram accounts, and a Youtube channel. There was even a geo-localization app and a tagboard for user-generated content. 71 publications and 4 professional videos were produced.

At the heart of the event was the merging of offline with the online at the Social Newsroom © Brand24events

The Social Newsroom, however, did more than just produce content. They interacted with users continuously, organized enticing contests and encouraged the participants to share their experiences and updates.

Philips had four goals in mind with this digital campaign:

  1. Increase engagement on Philips Lighting social media profiles
  2. Drive traffic to the digital channels
  3. Enhance the reach of content
  4. Improve brand image

As part of their activities, specific hashtags were created – both #cityoflight and #miastoswiatla got trending. Not only the event attendees, but even the local influencers and city authorities were encouraged to join this parade of user-generated content to amplify the impact of the digital campaign. A hashboard was created to monitor and display all event-related mentions.

The result?

For a local event, the outcome was impressive. Philips managed to reach 1 million social media users. They also got 15,424 fan likes, 41,000 hits on the videos and collected 404 mentions of the Philips brand. All of this in just 4 days!

Here Are Our Takeaways from Philips’ Event Strategy at Lublin

  • Philips understands that whatever it does, begins and ends with people. The offline world and the online one are not really distinct because they are made up of the same people. Interesting experiences on the floor make for engaging conversations over the Internet.
  • The smartest brands love to experiment. Take the hashboard that Philips created, as an example. Often, people end up posting something online, just to see if their post made to that big screen.
  • Social media is a perfect way to enrich your event. Pre and post-event engagements are just as important as activities done during the event. Both the offline and the online experience was crafted by Philips strategically to enhance, not take-away from the actual event.

Here’s How You Can Follow Philip’s Example

Philips is all set to become Signify. And while it does that, it’s time for you to take a leaf out of its playbook and create some significant impact during your next big event just like they did at The Festival of Conjurers.

  • Be responsive. Be spontaneous. Interact with participants on the social media platforms and encourage them to share their stories. You MUST leverage the conversations happening around your brand. This might mean stepping out of your headquarters and being on the ground to keep conversations dynamic and real-time.
  • Design a hashtag for your event that is unique and relevant. This makes it easier for you to track mentions while giving users a chance to belong to a community of sorts. The whole point of an event, after all, is to get people to have meaningful interactions among themselves and with your brand.
  • Get active with influencers before the event so that they can promote you during a conference, festival or on social media. Philips did this by engaging with the city council, local authorities and other influencers in the local community.
  • Use social listening to collect mentions and present them in a social stream on a large-screen dashboard. Who wouldn’t enjoy their 60-seconds of fame?

Want to know more about how you too can combine an offline event with an online digital campaign and amplify the impact of your event? Have an event coming up and want to achieve the kind of results that Philips did on social media? Talk to Saurabh Garg and find out more. 

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