"What's your handle on Periscope?"
This was a question asked to me by one of the 2,000 people in Times Square for Applebee's "Taste the Change Fest".
"Applebee's", I said without so much as a stutter.
When I was asked to handle a live streaming feed for Applebee's at their huge, new-menu party in Times Square, I was floored. Not only was a major national brand asking me to takeover their live-streaming handle, they were trusting me to deliver excitement and engage with an audience they hadn't yet tapped into.
The thing about live-streaming video through apps like Periscope or Meerkat, is that once it's out there, it's out there. There's no tape delay, no professional film crew, no makeup and no lighting. It's raw, authentic video.
Why would a brand turn to an unproven social media platform and trust a non-employee to deliver quite possibly their most important marketing campaign, ever?
Simply put: Applebee's is awesome.
No, seriously, Applebee's knows how to reinvent themselves. In the ever changing backdrop of social media, Applebee's had the wherewithal to use a new platform to bring powerful results (to the tune of over 500,000,000 impressions).
I learned a lot about Applebee's as a brand that day, more importantly, the value they place on humanization (which ironically was my topic later that night on #MCEOtalk
). I learned so much from them, that I decided to share with you how Applebee's is bringing sexy back.
Applebee's values its customers. How? Just go check out their Twitter feed, and it's clear they want to engage with you on every level. Applebee's even went so far to rent space on Times Squares legendary video billboards to showcase user generated content, and block off a section of one of the busiest sections of the city, to throw a party for their fans. This isn’t an inexpensive way to make some fans happy.
They also ran a contest to fly in an Applebee’s fan and a guest out to the party. Neil and Dominic flew in from California, were VIP’s at the event, put up in a great hotel and got access to Jason Derulo and the X-Ambassadors one-on-one. Not a bad way to treat your fans.
Kudos to you Applebee’s!
Applebee’s recognizes the power of live streaming video. All may have been fine and dandy with a street fest in NYC and some ad dollars behind a few social media tweets, which many brands would have been ok with.
For those unable to attend the party in NYC, the party was brought to them, LIVE on Periscope. Live streaming video has been all the rage as of late, and for good reason. It allows brands and people to market themselves as authentic and down to earth. Another round of applause for Applebee’s.
Many brands have stayed away from the live streams because of all the potential negatives. Applebee’s has seen the light and all of the positives associated with humanizing your brand. Here are some quotes I’ve heard that came directly from the fact that I was live streaming this event:
“I am going to drive right by TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesday’s to go to Applebee’s"
“Wow, that was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, I felt like I was a VIP!"
“I need to try the Triple Hog Dare Ya, my mouth was watering all afternoon."
“I drove to my local Applebee’s as soon as I got out of work and ordered those nachos!"
“Applebee’s is so cool for doing this. I want to support them because they really engage their fans."
This was from five different individuals in my network spanning from Arizona to Washington D.C. and from Minnesota to Texas. Don’t see the value yet? I’ve got an eye doctor for you.
It’s not about you. Finally, the most important takeaway here is that Applebee’s didn’t make this about them. In fact, go look at all of their social channels, you’ll see it’s never about them. User generated content is the most important aspect of social, they go out of their way to bring the fan voice to the fore.
Applebee’s recognized that they didn’t have a strong live video presence, so they brought in someone that did.
They recognized how important it was to have an engaging personality to be the face of their brand for a few hours, and it worked out very well.
For now, Applebee’s is bringing sexy back, and it seems all these others don’t know how to act.
You’ve reinvented yourself and proven yourselves as a leader in your industry. I personally want to call out other brands here to do the same thing. See the light and reinvent yourself.
See the good that live streaming video can bring to your brand? It is here and now, don’t wait.