While I do accept that Digital is a great medium to reach out to a lot of people, it is also a fact that it has - in some way - brought a disconnect between people and brand.
In the online world, there are just too many brands jostling for my mindshare and couple that with some serious attention deficit, it's difficult for a brand to breed a community of passionate loyalists.
This is where I say the much cliched line: Let's go back to our roots. And by roots, I mean the real world. The offline world where you can really see people instead of their DPs and call them out with their names and not just tag their handle.
Integrating your online efforts with offline activities can work amazingly for your brand if executed well. Not only do you build a stronger association with people, you also end up creating some very interesting content that can be used for marketing.
However - and it's a big HOWEVER - the question is how can one ensure an online activity that manages to meet those targets?
A bummer actually. If you're calling in people and bringing them to a place, you must ensure that they have a good time. You should give them an experience that they will remember for long.
I was there at the recently organized #KFBeerUp in Mumbai and was astounded by the intensity of the event. Right from the Beer Chugs to the music to the Food and, of course, the beer, it was a fab experience. The way Kingfisher as a brand celebrates Beer was amazing.
And when you provide such a great time, it's no wonder that you get all your 100 registrations within 58 seconds!
But it's a challenge to engage people with your brand in the offline sphere without being too pushy. You will need to figure out a way to integrate your brand in a subtle way and be interesting at the same time.
Again, I would like to mention Kingfisher here. The #KFBeerUp involved a lot of activities and all were centered around Beer. The Beer Chug, to see who chugs a pint of beer the fastest. A relay race for beer chugging for a team of 4. A beer sucker contest where one had to drink beer from a feeding bottle!
I also liked how Pepsi managed to integrate the Tweet20 gameplay in the IPL tweetup it held earlier in April in Mumbai.
Location. Location. Location
You can't keep the offline meet at any far off location. You must make sure that it is easily reachable by every participant. When we were looking for the venue of our #SSMeetup Mumbai, this was one of our first priority. Which is why we chose Bandra.
Go Full Throttle
The worst thing you can do is to give a half-hearted attempt. Either go all out with full intenity or just don't do it. People will eventually know that you, as a brand, are not doing a fair job.
And this might backfire if they decide to talk against you on Twitter/Facebook/Blogs. So make sure all your corners are secured and you have done everything to provide a fantastic experience.
Keep The Fire Alive
If you see that your offline activity was received very well by your community, you should bask in the glory for some time and then get cracking on the next phases asap.
The Reliance Tweet-a-Tab contest was a great example of how they kept the fire alive for 6 days back-to-back. They targeted different cities one after the other and managed to create a huge buzz.
And this is precisely the reason why we are coming up with the Bangalore leg of our #SSMeetUp. After a superb response from Delhi and Mumbai, we want to keep it rolling and that is why we will be there in Bangalore in the first week of June.
Here's a list of some brilliant online-offline campaigns that we believe can help you: