Client: Microsoft / Haymarket
Project Name: Microsoft Microsite - Brand Republic
Microsoft Advertising has produced a mountain of in-depth research around ‘Digital Trends’. This research is incredibly insightful, particularly for branding campaigns for advertisers.
Microsoft want to share this research to the industry, getting more exposure to it and in turn position themselves as a major player in the digital advertising space. Brand Republic have been earmarked as a media partner that can help with this goal.
In the first campaign of this partnership, Microsoft needs a home to share the research to the Brand Republic audience.
As the project was quite wide in scope, and something that was initiated from an external partner, it was more of a project/product manager hybrid function.
My role was to not only launch the digital product, but also co-ordinate with a number of different departments in order to make the campaign happen all within budget and in a very limited timeframe.
With a diverse ecosystem of products and services that touch millions of peoples’ lives around the world every day, Microsoft tries to understand the changing landscape of consumers’ wants and needs in order to shape their business.
Research is essential to their goals and as part of their advertising business they believe the information and insights they gather can be invaluable for other brands.
Microsoft were already discussing a few different opportunities with Brand Republic when the opportunity came up to utilise a particular Microsoft research project called Digital Trends.
Microsoft wanted to partner with Brand Republic to share these insights with their audience, with the aim that readers find useful information that may help them shape their next brand campaign and help deliver what their customers want.
The main challenge was the short time frame for this particular campaign, I therefore became involved in order to deliver it.
In this instance the problem that was trying to be solved wasn’t necessarily audience lead, but revenue and client lead.
Microsoft Advertising had an ambition to work closely with Brand Republic and Haymarket on a number of future projects, but they needed this particular campaign delivered before those campaigns could be discussed.
The campaign in itself had great value to the audience, and Microsoft saw an opportunity to even help solve their problems through their own research and technology.
From Brand Republic and Haymarket’s perspective, it was a great opportunity to show they had moved in to the digital space and were able to deliver campaigns in a timely manner.
I had two weeks from agreeing a general plan to delivering it.
Because of the time limited nature, I had to understand what we were capable of doing. If we were too ambitious, there would be a time overrun - if however, we weren’t ambitious enough, it might affect future campaigns.
First of all was fully understanding Microsoft’s goals and how they could fit in with any potential solution. Working closely with the Haymarket Account Manager, and Microsoft themselves, the main areas that would shape the solution was the volume of the Digital Trends research that was to be shared, and that analytical data was highly valuable to Microsoft.
With the above in mind I took the time to discuss the best methods of sharing this kind of text and image heavy information with the existing team. They had previously worked on a number of content solutions and sponsored campaigns of a similar nature. This instantly through up some solutions and options, however it didn’t quite satisfy the client’s needs and ambition.
Further discussion with HBi (Haymarket’s software development department) opened up more possibilities for potential solutions.
Once the clients need’s and Haymarket’s capabilities were understood, we gathered in a meeting to discuss solutions that could meet the goals in the required timeframe.
My vision had been a dedicated ‘microsite’ as it allowed flexibility with the vast amount of content, and we were able to drive traffic from Brand Republic directly to it - this traffic would come from specific sponsored articles, promotional slots and also the daily newsletters.
Microsoft Advertising agreed, and they also agreed that the only way to deliver the campaign was for myself and a developer to conduct a 4 day sprint in the Microsoft offices with their team as a way of expediting focus and alleviating any issues in a fast and efficient manner.
The microsite was given a unique URL that helped reinforce the partnership; http://microsoft.brandrepublic.com - It was a responsive site, and could easily be expanded with more information for future Microsoft campaigns.
- First 7 days, Unique Visitors: 1,521
- Page Views: 2,415
- Avg. Visit Duration: 1min 10 seconds
- Return Visits: 24.8%
Any project of this nature is fun, but with one of the biggest companies in the world as the client, a tight timeframe and a lot of pressure, it ramped up the adrenaline and I was very proud of what was achieved considering the time frame, budget and resource.
As far as the brief was concerned - the figures from the first week show that we went a long way to achieving the exposure Microsoft was looking for, and that helped solidify the partnership and future deals.
The product creation process itself was probably the best part of the project - knowing the small amount of resource and time, being able to create something from scratch working hand-in-hand with Microsoft in their offices was a valuable experience and a satisfactory problem solving exercise.