E3 is a unique event for brands looking to make a splash on social media. It's an event that generates a tremendous amount of online chatter like, say, the Super Bowl or the Oscars, but unlike those events, this is an occasion designed with marketing in mind. It's a celebration of video game entertainment. As the event unfolds, fans eagerly refresh their feeds looking to get the first glimpse at upcoming releases from their favorite game publishers.
Compared to the other presenters at E3 2014, Ubisoft was decidedly the underdog. Ubisoft planned to unveil 7 blockbuster titles and was hoping to steal the show by using social media to amplify the buzz for its new games. To do this, they partnered with Good People to create a state-of-the-art Social Media War Room.
On the day of E3, our creative and social strategy teams joined forces with Ubisoft's brand, digital marketing, and content marketing teams to monitor the online conversation in real-time, then engage fans with a mixture of preplanned assets and individualized tweets for influencers.
Through a combination of smart social planning, thorough preparation and on-the-fly creative thinking, Good People and Ubisoft were able to break through the noise and deliver over 500 million mentions, hashtags, and brand keywords across all titles - leading the studio to capture the highest share of voice on social channels across all of its competitors for titles.
Although the concept of a social media war-room is nothing new, the scale of Ubisoft's E3 war-room required an innovative approach towards the management and integration of multiple teams and stakeholders. We used a combination of solid planning, real-time collaboration software and a purposefully crafted physical space to keep a team of over 40 people working in unison.
In the weeks leading up to E3, we analyzed past years events to develop a strategy and approach to the upcoming event. By rehearsing past years E3 events, we were able to prepare for potential opportunities as well as potential challenges. By the day of the expo, we had a playbook for each planned portion of the event as well as some unexpected ones as well. We had also developed a war chest full of templates images, gifs, fonts, logos, and copy lines that our creative team could use to very quickly construct reactive assets. When opportunities presented themselves on the day of the event, our team was uniquely poised to respond in real-time with social posts that were tailored to a specific audience and trend. This preparation allowed us to maintain a very high level of engagement with the gaming community and interact with many fans on a one-to-one level.
In order to maintain clarity and efficiency of operation amongst the different teams, we employed a sophisticated workflow that allowed everyone to strive for a singular goal. The team was broken down into three units, each comprised of multiple roles. Although the three teams were in different rooms of the same building, a web-based collaboration tool seamlessly powered real-time communication and sharing of files. Using this system, opportunities, production requests, assets and approvals were shuttled back and forth between the community management, creative production, and brand teams. This highly tuned workflow allowed us to go from observing an opportunity to responding with a custom designed image asset in minutes rather than hours. Our ability to respond this quickly allowed Ubisoft to capitalize on several key opportunities and paid dividends in the form of increased engagement throughout the day.
The Big Day
For the day of E3, we set up a physical command center with separate rooms for the three teams. The main listen and response room contained a video wall with eight screens – one for the live stream of the event and the others all displaying real time analytics and visualizations of the conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Although physical proximity of the teams was a key ingredient to our success, we relied on technology to do the heavy lifting of shuttling files around, gathering feedback and tracking status. This allowed us to focus on the work and coming up with great ideas.
Our goal for E3 was to amplify the buzz and word of mouth for Ubisoft and its titles by engaging both influencers and the community at large with smart, relevant content. We focused on using humor wherever possible and always trying to provide value. We focused on both one-to-one conversations and engaging Ubisoft's fans as a whole. Fans loved interacting with our team, and by the end of the day several key influencers had re-tweeted our posts to millions of their fans. The quantitative results were just as impressive – games like Assassin's Creed, Just Dance, and The Crew were at the top of their competitive segment with the highest share of voice. Overall, Ubisoft had its biggest E3 ever with over 500 million brand mentions on Twitter alone and over 12 million page reach overall on Facebook.