Horses, hats, royalty and integrating digital and social campaigns

Horses, hats, royalty and integrating digital and social campaigns

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If you haven’t heard of Royal Ascot,  it took place last week and is one of the Queen of England’s favorite events where jockeys, the cream of society and some of the most outrageous fashions of the day mix jovially in a week of horse racing, hats and champagne.

Horses have been a passion of the Queen all her life and some of her horses such as Musical Comedy competed last week. Ascot has been a royal tradition since 1711 when the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne, had the venue built. So what has such a long standing and some would say traditional event like Royal Ascot have to do with integrated social and digital campaigns?

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Royal Ascot incorporated curated social content from the public around the event into its website, with photos from Instagram & Pinterest, commentary from Twitter and Vine videos, through a social wall powered by EngageSciences. The result is an attractive and immersive picture of all the action from the week created by the people who went. This content served both to promote the event as it was going on and will in the future remind people of the fun to be had. And in doing so, it will drive attendance next year.

What Royal Ascot is doing today is part of a wider trend where brands are putting social content from fans and advocates at the heart of their marketing, re-inventing websites and traditional advertising techniques. For example, if you are launching a new product, you could seed content about the new product across Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Your advertising on TV and other channels will also create reactions on social channels you can find and use. The best of that social content, the reactions and the buzz can be published into your campaign hub or website, putting fans and advocates at the heart of your marketing communications. This social material can even be used to drive the content of your ad strategy.


The hashtag plays an important part in that. Brands are using hashtag campaigns, often incentivised with a competition, to get people to react on social channels. Instagram and Twitter are the networks where this type of campaign is most prevalent. The best of the created content is then filtered, curated and published into a website campaign hub.

The end result is that digital and social is becoming beautifully integrated. What is the social part of the campaign? The action of triggering social content from consumers, or the website that features it and encourages others to share, comment or vote on the best content? The reality is the lines between social and broader digital activities are becoming increasingly blurred. With that you can expect more organizations to increasingly focus on triggering and using content from consumers to embed deeply within the core of their digital strategies.

With Instagram and its filters, to Vine and its six-second videos, the social networks themselves are powering this trend by giving the tools to consumers to create beautiful, bite sized content that brands can use. Everyone is at it, even those that have the stamp of Royal approval.

Guest post by Richard Jones, CEO and Co-founder of EngageSciences

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Francesca Heath (@FrancescaHeath) is the Global Communications Director for EngageSciences, a rapidly growing social media marketing platform which enables brands to create exceptional social marketing programs that maximize the lifetime value of fans. Having worked in marketing, events and PR for over six years Francesca has delivered many successful integrated marketing campaigns, with a specialized focus across digital and social channels and has a passion for digital and tech. Follow her at | Twitter | LinkedIn