Visa Takes Olympics Fans Everywhere They Want to be
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, were a key moment for Visa. The brand wanted to reposition itself on the global stage and tell consumers through its sponsorship activations that the brand is “Everywhere you want to be.” Visa’s social media strategy was designed to bring the brand’s sponsorship to the forefront and make Visa the most talked about brand at the Games. The challenge, of course, was that the media attention at the Olympics is overwhelmed with stories of the athletes. So, Visa tapped into that powerful force and leveraged its social channels to inspire fans around the world to see a piece of themselves in every Olympic story.
Visa’s social team used a “predictive social listening” model to identify trending Olympic topics. That information was sent to on-the-ground teams in Sochi and New York City, who used it to create content that would translate those key moments into relatable stories for consumers. In 17 days, the brand created more than 250 pieces of content across six social channels and for 28 countries. A key platform: Twitter. Visa brought fans into athletes’ victory moments with a tweet-powered photo mosaic that delivered digital autographs in return for joining in the discussion. Each time one of Visa’s athletes won an event, the brand identified all of the fans on Twitter who were cheering for that athlete and aggregated their Twitter avatars in a photo mosaic of that athlete. Then, using Digigraph technology, Visa tweeted back at those fans with a digitally signed photo of the athlete thanking them for their support and inviting them to see their photo in the mosaic.
A couple of other tech tools played into the brand’s success, including Tweet Deck, which the brand used to identify relevant conversations to respond to with real-time content during the Olympic events. Mass Relevance Platform was the engine that executed the fan photo mosaic.These technologies enabled Visa to be relevant and react in real-time to conversations that were happening as the Olympic events unfolded, when fans were most receptive to this content.
The brand’s social listening strategy lent the brand an air of authority as a top curator of Olympic content while simultaneously giving consumers a sense of ownership, too. Consumers suggested and created the seeds of the new ads and experiences, so they felt a direct connection to what the brand was putting out there. Because of that, consumers were more passionate and engaged with the activations in New York City and Sochi.
In the end, Visa met its goal of being the most-talked about Olympic sponsor, controlling 40 percent of the brand messaging and touching more than 790 million fans worldwide.
A social takeover in classic style. Well done, Visa.