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Effective social media campaign

Effective social media campaigns don’t come any better than this!

So we were asked recently by The EDP Business Section to write a review of our involvement with the Anglia Square Not Leicester Square campaign which saw the premiere of the Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa take over Hollywood Cinema in Norwich! The published piece was limited to space so here it is in all it’s glory.

Creative Giant making BIG waves socially
The #AngliaSquareNotLeicesterSquare campaign brought Norwich a movie world premiere, made front page news in the national press and spawned countless prime time national news stories across Sky, BBC and ITV to name but a few, it was even a talking point on News Night! “That’s been my aim all along,” explains Rob Wilkes (39) founder of Creative Giant and its new, aptly named additional arm, Social Giant. Along with Rafiq Turnbull (40), who runs Main Source on Pottergate in The Lanes area of Norwich, they were the brains behind the hugely successful social media campaign that brought the world premiere of Alpha Papa, the Alan Partridge movie, to Norwich.

Rob continues,”The foundation of this campaign has always been the amount of national and even international coverage it’s going to get, not only for the film, but for Norwich itself.” The proof has certainly been in the pudding and the results are still happening now. Rob has met with journalists from The Guardian and The Independent, giving them an insiders’ tour of Norwich, “I took them to all my favourite spots – coffee shops, cafes, boutique clothing stores and great pubs, of which we have many to shout about. It was great fun and another sign of how this has been a good thing for Norwich. Visit Norwich got in touch at the height of the campaign to say enquiries from people wanting to come here had increased heavily since the campaign took off – we love that, it’s great to see the city and the county benefitting, only last weekend I read an article in The Independent about North Norfolk Radio titled ‘The real voice of Norfolk: I am NOT Alan Partridge’ which featured presenter Graham Lewis.”

So how did it all start? Over burgers on Father’s Day is the official line, but Rob says the idea had been kicking around in his head for a few weeks prior to mentioning it to Rafiq. The Facebook page and Twitter account was set up on the following Wednesday night, and by Friday Facebook had reached nearly 2,000 likes (they went on to reach close to 8,000 and at its height had a total reach of over 168,000) and our very own Evening News and Mustard TV reporters where covering the official campaign launch outside City Hall. “Things took off so quickly,” explains Rob, “the coverage we got from that launch day allowed us to reach a wider audience, and then we could really start to engage with people and have some fun.”

“Fun was the key element of our campaign strategy, it had be really, what with the nature of the film. Every idea we came up with had to contain an element of fun, from competitions asking people to share a video of themselves shouting Dan in public in order to win premiere tickets, through to something quirky that would ignite conversation and encourage social engagement. Sometimes it might have been a small thing, something that planted a seed in people’s heads, other times it was more complex.”

Like the Partridge State of Mind performance by Laura Morrell alongside a 30 piece flash mob choir outside HMV. A great example of how being reactive with your audience can lead to unknown paths and fantastic results both on and offline, something the campaign was great at doing.

Rob continues, “It was suggested that we needed a theme song, so we posted a call out for suggestions, partly thinking we could adopt an existing song. Laura took it upon herself to rewrite the lyrics to the Alicia Keys song A New York State of Mind, but with a completely Norwich inspired Partridge twist which she posted on YouTube. That video alone has over 3,851 views and via our page reached 6,568 people. As soon as we heard it we knew we’d found our theme tune and we quickly started thinking about how we could use it to generate content and interaction via our social channels and coverage from the local press, radio and tv. The video we created of the day with the Norwich based C>Media reached 7,208 people via Facebook and received 3,061 views on YouTube and made the ITV Anglia News that evening.

“This reactive approach worked really well for us with the campaign. Once things got to a certain level size-wise it began to go organic – things were happening that we had not set up – but this allowed us to embrace them, and bolster our campaign in clever ways. Lots of things seemed to fall into place at the right time, and because we were mobile we could cover things instantly, direct from our phones, and have it online in a matter of seconds. The Lord Mayor’s procession for example – people thought the Alan float was us, but this was an official Studio Canal thing. By this point they had embraced our #AngliaSquareNotLeicesterSquare slogan and were using it on the float. We’d heard news of this so quickly got up there with our phones and started sharing pics and Tweeting live. Armando Iannucci (one of the writers for Partridge) had started to engage with our followers on Twitter over this same weekend, teasing us all with hints of a big announcement. Full credit to them for embracing the campaign and spotting an opportunity to capitalise on a double premiere, although if you Google Alpha Papa premiere nothing much comes up for London and Norwich is heavily featured – we’re proud of that.”

Something which was created in more of a traditional studio environment was the branding. Some people have commented that the campaign might have been part of a big PR stunt by the film company Studio Canal and Steve Coogan’s production company Baby Cow, something which Rob is proud of. “As the design half of the campaign duo every time I read comments like that it’s a great buzz. The main image was created for us by a freelance illustrator named Steve Piantoni and our official campaign photographer has been Rob Dodsworth who’s also done a sterling job for us. The design has worked really well, and we implemented it across our brand both on and offline, creating merchandise such as car stickers, posters, badges and even a range of campaign t-shirts. It became really powerful, and fun.” There’s that word again. “The merchandise was also part of the strategy, obviously we wanted it to look great and for people to want it, but it also served as another technique for creating content to share online – not only could we post about it in the first instance, but our audience could too, tagging themselves in pics wearing the tees, or posters they spotted in windows, all of this was a great way to spread the word virally. Even Simon Greenall who plays Michael in the film got involved, initially posting a pic of himself in Anglia Square, and later again proudly wearing one of our campaign shirts while holding a mug of baked beans with a sausage as a spoon. That kind of celeb engagement was great, and is another example of how the organic effect took hold.”

Organic benefits of the campaign
What’s been evident throughout the campaign is the benefit of coverage both locally and nationally. Rob told us that initially he received lots of questions about whether what he was doing was a good thing for Norwich. “Yes, maybe we worried a few people at first, but they were certainly a minority, and general feedback was that it was a good thing, we certainly feel that Norwich is proud enough to stand tall.”

Melanie Cook – Visit Norwich
“Alan Partridge has created a huge boost to the profile of Norwich over the years, however the phenomenon that has been the national media coverage since the announcement by StudioCanal to hold the world premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in Norwich could never have been predicted, it’s literally been off the scale! The idea of ‘Anglia Square not Leicester Square’ was brilliant and has worked so well because it was not a PR stunt. The media has embraced this superb, tongue in cheek, local campaign and run with it!

We’ve been talking to VisitEngland for the past year about introducing a Partridge Tour, they were very keen for us to do something, 40% of domestic tourism is for film tourism. We talked to StudioCanal, Norwich City Council and the Blue Badge Guides and thus we now have an ‘Alpha Norwich’ tour. The news of the tour was announced through a press release and what happened next, again could not have been predicted. The phone rang off the hook; Sky News, The Independent, BBC local, BBC National, The Guardian, Coach Monthly (!), Daily Mail – you name it, they called.

The coverage for Norwich over the past two weeks has been national and international. If we’d had money to run a campaign to give us as much exposure through print and broadcast media we would have needed a budget running into hundreds of thousands of pounds – this has been HUGE.

Figures from Norwich BID – Business Improvement District indicate footfall is up by 10% on this time last year, Norwich at the moment is everywhere and we are hoping that this will stimulate more people into visiting our beautiful city that we are all so proud of. The tours already have brought new people here and tickets have almost run out.”

Trevor Wicks – Hollywood Cinema
“It will be interesting to see how the film performs over the weekend but in terms of the Wednesday night opening we are extremely happy. As well as watching the film at the official world premiere site you can also walk the red carpet for yourself and have your pic taken there before going in to see the film.” Trevor continues, “we also have a Baby Go Go Gorilla here that you can see and are giving away campaign goodies while they last.”

Martin Green – GoGoGorillas
GoGoGorillas has also seen a massive increase in this year’s trail,” Martin Explains. “Both Freddie and our Alan Gorilla have graced national news, and worked really well for us, we’ve had unprecedented numbers of people coming into Norwich to take part in the trail – out of 200,000 maps printed we only have 15,000 left, it’s really helped to put Norwich on the map and highlight different areas of the city. Alan Gorilla resides inside estate agent Abbot Fox and they’ve told us that each day since the premiere they get between 50 to 100 visitors coming to see him.”

Samuel Le Good – Abbot Fox
“We like to embrace the more forward thinking marketing approach so Alan Gorilla was perfect for us – it’s been a great brand awareness exercise, we’ve seen a massive increase in terms of followers on Twitter and it’s really helped to position Abbot Fox in people’s minds, resulting in an increased number of valuations for us.”

“We’re already planning to work with Creative Giant in the future with regards to our marketing.”

So what’s next for Creative Giant?
“The whole year so far has been really great for us, but the summer will be a highlight certainly. It’s been a great networking opportunity, although that was never the plan – I just thought the premiere should be in Norwich. But you can’t ignore the benefits that have sprung up from this. I’ve been interested in, and involved with, social media for a number of years now and this seemed like an ideal time to launch our new arm to the business – Social Giant. We now offer a consultancy service based around social media and content, this can be as big or small as the client wants, anything from a chat and one day’s work on ideas that clients can work with through to a fully implemented campaign packed full of clever ideas, video and compelling content. I think the way budgets are spent on traditional advertising are changing, companies are thinking why spend thousands on an advert that is only shown at certain points in time, why not use that budget more wisely and produce content that can be shared online forever. You’ve more than likely seen for yourself a video or image that goes viral on Facebook and does the rounds so to speak, you may have already seen it a few times, but to the person sharing it at that moment it’s the first time they’ve been introduced to it and are engaging with it – that chain of events will continue over and over delivering longer lasting results and awareness.

“As Social Giant we’ve already started working with www.mailbigfile.com helping them with content and campaign ideas, and we’re excited about our work with The Wood Kitchen, which is a vintage pop up pizza wagon, we’ve created a guest menu with them and have lots of fun ideas in the pipeline. We also continue to work with Dogfish and Sevenwolves socially too, promoting their live music events, steering people in the right direction online as well as producing all of the graphics both digitally and offline too.

“As far as the design side with Creative Giant, we’ve recently started working with MTV, doing bits for their European Music Awards – we’re super pleased about this and hope to grow that relationship over the coming months. We’ve also just been reappointed after a competitive tender process to produce all the Housingmoves and Seaside & Country Homes literature for The Greater London Authority, so we’re working with and implementing the brand for the Mayor Of London across all of that. Locally we work closely with Sarah Thomas Communications and have done for a few years now, there’s lots of new work being won there on a regular basis, and we’re continuing our work with FOUR Agency, who we design the Intu Chapelfield magazine for each quarter.”

The new www.creativegiant.co.uk site launches this week so head on over and take a look, be sure to catch up with them socially too, all the links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin can be found on their website.

It’s good to share – Tips you can implement

– Set out goals and what you want to achieve, consider your audience and what might encourage social engagement

– Make sure what you’re sharing is of interest. Before you post anything, ask yourself, would this ignite conversation?

– Be aware of the time of day you’re posting, think about where your audience might be and how possible it is for them to engage

– Try to include a pic or video with your post, this is more engaging than plain text

– Be reactive, make the most from anything organic that’s born from replies

– Always have in the back of your mind at any point of the day ‘is what I’m doing right now of interest?’ – sometimes behind the scenes stuff can be engaging

– Think outside of the net, how can you create awareness of your page in the real world and drive traffic to your page

– Consider organising an event or pr stunt that can help with awareness and also generate great content both pre and post event

– Be prepared for it to take over your life! Social media done well can consume a lot of your time, plan accordingly dedicating time each day, if you can’t find the time consider outsourcing.

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