In the last two months I´ve been invited to several events put together by companies looking to engage bloggers–at a deep level–with their brands. Being at these very significant events has allowed me the chance to get a good view of brands that are doing things right. These brands took care of every single detail to make sure their invited bloggers (and in some cases their families, too) were well taken care of, informed of every little detail and even surprised at the level of attention.
Three notable blogger events to spotlight:
1) Hanes Comfort Crew Disney World Resort Family Trip
When: April 2011
For the third consecutive year, Hanes and Weber Shandwick selected a group of 14 bloggers to form part of their Hanes Comfort Crew. The Crew is not compensated for their involvement, nor do they have any requirements to fulfill, other than being open to receiving communications from the Hanes PR and marketing team. The highlight of the Hanes Comfort Crew is the annual trip to Disney World where each blogger is allowed to to bring four family members to join them.
Each year most of the Crew changes to allow for new relationships. However, some key crew members are invited to return. Notable Hanes Comfort Crew members the past three years include Chris Brogan, Audrey McLelland, Katja Presnal, Allison Worthington, and more..
2) Universal Orlando Resort Family Bloggers
When: May 2011
Universal Orlando recruited a well-known mom blogger and online media maven to put together a group of 14 family bloggers to be invited to the resort´s first-ever blogger event. Again, this was not a paid opportunity, but the value of the 3-day family vacation exceeded any compensation. The main goal of this event was to engage at a deep and personal level with influential bloggers from different social spheres and niches to create an ongoing communication regarding the many things happening at the Universal Orlando Resort and hotels. Bloggers were given a set of suggested blog posts and giveaway opportunities that were not enforced, but were carefully planned out to be mutually beneficial for both parties.
3) Mexico Today Kick-off event in Oaxaca
When: June 2011
Now this is a big brand: México. Yes, the whole country. An initiative that came straight from President Felipe Calderón has resulted in a private and public initiative called Marca País which partnered with Ogilvy PR Worldwide to create a large international social media campaign to share the many positive news coming from the country.
The genius of this campaign is they have vetted and selected 24 bloggers/online writers that were already demonstrating a passion for all things México through their online presence. This team of 24 México enthusiasts are now Community Managers and Contributors hired to create content for the new MexicoToday.org web magazine and Facebook community. They have hired bloggers to write about a topic they were already writing about and given them clear expectations as to their deliverables. However, the campaign itself will continue to organically grow and develop based on the bloggers´ feedback and needs.
To kick-off the campaign, the Ogilvy, Qorvis and Marca País representatives met with the team of México Today writers during an impressive event in Oaxaca, México.
What Did These Brands Get Right?
Curation and Vetting: Each of the bloggers invited to participate in these events and campaign were carefully vetted and monitored for months prior to the actual invitation. The selection process was not taken lightly and each blogger represents an influential sphere that, combined, makes a true force.
Location, location, location: All three locations are coveted and aspirational. Universal Orlando Resort was obvious because the end goal was to have bloggers experience and get to know their resort areas. On the other hand, Hanes made an excellent choice at “gifting” bloggers with a family vacation at one of the most wished-for–and, yes, happiest-places on earth: Disney World.
The Mexico Today team had a plethora of amazing tourist spots in México to choose from, but they chose Oaxaca–a magical place where you can get a true sense for all the beauty, art and taste México has to offer.
In all three cases, bloggers were enthusiastic about the location and, thus, enthusiastic about the partnership and re-telling the stories surrounding it.
Respect/No pressure attitude: This is key when inviting a group of bloggers to engage them with your brand and/or message. Yes, we all know we´ve been invited for business, but it needs to feel casual and integrated into the whole experience. All three of these did an excellent job at mixing business with lots of pleasure.
Communication: Every single email and outreach has been open, honest and transparent. Expectations were clearly set out from the get-go, thus letting bloggers recognize what they are signing up for and then deciding to commit.
Also, communication during the trips was flawless, allowing all to focus on the experience, not the details.
The devil´s in the details: I never knew opening up the door to your hotel room every night and finding a little gift could get me so giddy. We all love details, and these brands know how to make us feel special.
The details are not only the gifts and surprises, but also attention given to make sure every second of the trip is enjoyable.
The main reason why I´m sharing this is because I learned tons from the way these events/trips were organized and wish to leave an imprint for those planning outreach with bloggers to let you know the bar has been raised high…very high.
Share: Have you been to an amazing event that has resulted in an engaged relationship with the brand?