Google is synonymous with search, not necessarily with our best-in-class phone camera. Familiarity and Social Proof would make or break the launch of the new Pixel 3. A new contender in a saturated market. Even though traditional ads could have landed the impressions, we knew that to turn consumers into true believers, we had to demonstrate the phone's unparalleled camera in a way that felt authentic to our audience's social behavior.
We needed to launch waves of conversations across Instagram, where our audience lives, breathes, and follows outstanding photography. But to differentiate ourselves from other branded content, we set out to nurture an influencer group that didn't just use our product, but authentically loved it. In 8 months, our loyal volunteer "tribe" of Pixel advocates posted more than 10,000 times using their Pixel 3 and branded hashtags.
Thus we were able to tell the story of Pixel 3 in Instagram feeds across the world, with content straight from the phones and impressive side-by-side comparisons with the lower-quality pictures taken by competitor phones.
Here's how we created distinction in the smartphone category and made Pixel 3 relevant by developing, mobilizing, and unleashing the #teampixel tribe.
We implemented a 3-part approach to drive Social Proof, Cultural Relevance, and Product Relevance.
Social Proof - To get Pixel into the picture of what our audience cares about, we magnified Google's influencer program from 29 original members to 500 highly engaged advocates in just 8 months. All while ensuring our influencers actually loved showing off their phones. To launch the program, we created a bespoke premium onboarding experience with personalized emails, instructional welcome kits, and Pixel 3 phones. Offline, we hosted a national hands-on roadshow that taught influencers how to use their phones in their daily lives, for major events, and among friends. Online, influencers flooded social feeds with culturally relevant and visually interesting content. We empowered them to do that with a wide array of experiences we curated and created for them. This framework for social proof allowed us to begin driving Cultural and Product Relevance.
Cultural Relevance - This was a campaign at scale, but it needed to feel relevant to our audience. We handpicked influencers based on their likelihood to love our phone's camera and because their audiences connected with them on a personal and meaningful level. We capped reach at 100k followers and honed in on advocates with local brands such as a foodie from NYC, videography experimenter from Chi town, and pet photographer from LA.
In-depth strategic and creative planning went into each event to create environments where our influencers would be likely to share engaging content, whether it was pre-planning stunning views, securing front-row seats at exclusive events, providing personalized swag, or offering incredible meals. We curated and created 16 buzzworthy events across America amplified by our influencers' personal and local brands. This encompassed the Latin Grammys, a photo walk in beautiful Miami at night, Jimmy Kimmel Live, exclusive access to Google's annual keynote address, 3 Live Nation Festivals, a celebration of new Heather Day artwork, a Goop pop-up, the launch of the California Sunday "At Home" exhibition, a New York Holiday Party, and four hands-on, immersive creative retreats we hosted around the country, showing influencers exactly why their phones are awesome.
Product Relevance - To make a product ad feel relevant, it can't seem like a product ad. So we developed events and surprise packages based on key cultural moments for influencers that encouraged using the phone's most compelling features and use cases.
On New Year's Eve, we sent influencers beautifully designed boxes that contained two compartments of creative surprises. On one side, was the New Years Eve party supplies, and on the other (which influencers were told not to flip over and open until morning) was a wellness care package. The copy inside the boxes explained Google's shift toward digital wellness, including a new feature that let users flip their phones over to block notifications and eliminate distractions. The activation was a major success with influencers, who posted about it 309 times, with a few of their pictures even highlighted on local news stations.
Every post, story, and comment our influencers published as part of this program created personal and visually extraordinary product demonstrations that drove Social Proof, Cultural Relevance and Product Relevance for our clients culminating in more than 10,000 branded influencer social posts. All unpaid.
Our program delivered:
5.4x client ROI.
500 members onboarded.
49M combined followers.
2.6x average branded posting cadence by influencers.
12,000 individualized communications sent.
3,500 surprise-and-delight experiences (boxed) and shipped.
100+ influencers met in person.
1 future, first-ever, #teampixel summit up next.