National Geographic Channel has a digital property called National Geographic Moment Awards (NGMA). It’s been running successfully for three years.
However, in 2013, while the property continued to attract a fair number of photographers, it had started to seem a little stale.
The challenge was to inject a new life to the property, that would give digital audiences a fresh reason to get excited about it.
Solution and Idea
The solution lay in realising how times have changed. The serious photographer is now being edged out by the amatuer photographer. The power of photgraphy now lies in how fast its shared, how many people like it, and how many people comment on it.
Also, since NGMA was a digital property it seemed the need of the hour that it adapt to how digital audiences were capturing things. with their phones.
The largest photo sharing platform on mobiles was instagram. We decided to harness the power of this platform. And injected a whole new lease of life to the property by introducing for the first time an instagram category in the awards. Which means now anyone could be a photographer, and anyone could enter NGMA straight from their phone.
Any number of shots, any number of entries, any where you like. NGMA was as liberating as that.
Another exciting solution lay in the logo of NGMA, which framed the words NGMA in the iconic yellow frame. We realised that this yellow frame had the potential to go viral, with amatuer photographers on instagram. This yellow frame was a huge sign of credibility and we could exploit it to establish bragging rights.
Facebook posts announcing NGMA on instagram, created the first round of buzz
We followed that up with a film, that illustrated the fact that there’s a photographer in all of us. The film used the iconic yellow frame, which helped us seed the germ for our next move.
The film got such a fantastic response, that it was not just aired on digital, but also taken across all mainstream TV channels.
And now is when we decided to create NGMA ambassadors. By organising InstaWalks in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkatta.
We created event pages on facebook where we invited instagrammers to submit their account links, to be invited to the heritage walk, that eneded with breakfast. Applications were screened and the most influential instagrammers with large followings and great quality pictures were chosen.
Yellow frames were taken for the walks, and immediately every participant was taking pictures in the fame and making it their display picture across social media channels. With each instagrammer having an average of 10,000 followers on instagram alone, these ambassadors felt honoured to be in tangible contact with the yellow frame, and with their display pictures alone created fantatsic amplification for free.
Plus every picture they hashtagged #NGMA, while on the walk, was also counted as entry. Which means every instawalk gave us hundreds of entries.
The #NGMA hashtag for the first time made a photography contest so easy and so accessible to everyone. With a staggering 45,000 entries, it’s safe to say NGMA was a success in terms of numbers.
What was even more exciting was that the property became younger, more vibrant; and suddenly found itself not just relevant but also a very exciting proposition to a whole new community.
The adoption of the yellow frame as Display Pictures by instagrammers, who showcased it across social media platforms, created a viral effect that can only happen when you allow people and communities to inetract, engage and finally make something their own.