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4 Ways to Win Big with Big Events: Perspective from Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Conill and MillerCoors

With “the big game” coming up, it’s certainly no secret that big events are often tentpole strategies for major consumer marketing companies. From music and fashion to sports and food, large-scale events give marketers the chance to connect with consumers across various touchpoints and align with their most acute passions.  Smart marketers know that communicating with Hispanic consumers through their passions and culture will lead to brand success, and events are an ideal platform for deep engagement.

At our recent Leading the Change marketing forum, four senior marketers discussed their best practices for engaging Hispanic consumers at scale and with impact with big event sponsorships.  Representing their brands were: Brett Dennis of Conill Advertising, Michelle Freyre of Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena, Ray Olmeda of MillerCoors and Diahann Young of Coca-Cola.

Rule #1: Build Brand Love
It’s a simple formula, but one that works, says Diahann Young of Coca-Cola: “If you connect with consumers where they’re passionate in a really relevant, or culturally-relevant way… then you build brand love.  Events allow us to build brand love with our consumers.”   From music to soccer, Coke employed this strategy in their Hispanic marketing last summer with the FIFA World Cup and surrounding programs to achieve strong brand health and equity measures, as well as double digit gains on the sales front.

MillerCoors also taps into Hispanic millennials’ passion for music, with a 360-degree sponsorship of the Uforia Music Festival, which Ray Olmeda called “a cornerstone event” for the brand.  From on-site and social all the way to retail, MillerCoors offers consumers more of what they love from the festival through value-added content like performer interviews and their famous “Cold Hard Facts”.

Rule #2: Join the Conversation
Event sponsorships give brands the access and ability to insert themselves in the real-time conversations, something that is valuable for Johnson & Johnson.  “We know that bicultural Hispanic millennials are much more prone to engage in social media chatter around major events…[giving] our brands an opportunity to be a part of that,” said Michelle Freyre of Neutrogena.

Rule #3: Make the Sponsorship Work Harder
For Dennis, whose Hispanic advertising agency, Conill, works with major marketers like T-Mobile, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, and many others, the sponsorship goes beyond the standard media elements.  “We really look to activate against primary pillars: social, mobile, local, video content and influencers…that can make these events live past just one day and create a platform that extends the content.”  Focusing specifically on influencers, Dennis further remarked that influencers could mean everything from “celebrities with a capital ‘C’ like Shakira (whom they used for T-Mobile and the World Cup)… or celebrities with a small ‘c’ that could be influencers in their own particular space.”  Either way, the strategy works, Dennis says, with lifts anywhere from 30-100% on key metrics attached to the programs.

Rule #4:  Recognize the Inherent Value of the Hispanic Consumer
Several of the panelists agreed that Hispanic events offer their brands something special that they don’t get in other event marketing efforts.  According to Freyre, event sponsorships are that much more important in the Hispanic space since it is much less fragmented, “so those [events] that exist tend to be much more meaningful to the Hispanic audience.”  Furthermore, the deeper brand connection events offer is that much more pronounced in the Hispanic space, Freyre remarks, “Hispanics are more receptive to buying sponsor products – 41% for Hispanics vs. only 27% for general market, according to a Nielsen study.”

Dennis agrees: “We look at sponsorships because they work… they give us a lot of traction in the Hispanic space.”

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