Brands shouldn’t forget Euro 2012 opportunities

Although there’s just three weeks to go, there are still key opportunities still exist to get your brand associated with Euro 2012, without even leaving the UK.

With all the buzz around the London 2012 Olympics, it almost feels as if brands have forgotten about the excellent promotional opportunities that Europe’s biggest football tournament, Euro 2012, has to offer.

The event may not be being held on home soil, unlike the Olympics, but in some respects that enables brands to create their own local experiences around key individual games and generate a tournament atmosphere that makes people feel like they are there.

But first, why Euro 2012? Well it has it’s own distinct place on the calendar, positioned between the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, delivers a specific audience (particularly young men and women, non-luxury), and more of an opportunity to create an interactive, sharing experience due to the nature of a football match.

With only three weeks to go before the tournament kicks off, is it too late to plan related activity? Not necessarily. You may have missed the boat with respect to the main official sponsorship opportunities in and around the stadiums themselves, and with respect to securing TV ad space. There are probably also limited options relating to taking groups to the tournament or organising satellite events in the Ukraine or Poland. However, if you get a move on there are still chances to tap into Euro fever both online and live – or even better, a combination of the two.

For example, you could emulate the gamification trend and create your own branded Euro fantasy football experience that your customers will be able to play online during the tournament, with your brand front of mind as they do so. You can use email marketing, any existing social media activity, along with traditional media, such as newspapers, to promote the game and encourage people to sign up, while offering a series of prizes for the winners. Although developing such an online game from scratch can take some time, there are likely to be a number of ‘brand-able’ off-the-shelf packages available that can be up and running quickly.

However, if a brand came to me right now and asked how best they could leverage the buzz around Euro 2012, I’d have to say that creating a series of boutique events coinciding with key games would be the way forward. The number and scale would depend on budget, but each would feature a big screen showing a specific game, a bar and food, plus entertaining activities such as a live penalty shoot-out, band and party afterwards.

You could invite specific customers if you have a relatively small number of high-value. Alternatively you could run a competition or promotion online to select the audiences. Furthermore, to maximise the return you can amplify and extend the reach of the activity by videoing the events and either streaming them live online and/or uploading an edited version afterwards, drawing further attention to the content through social media.

You could even include a special booth at each event where revellers could pop in and record their reactions live. This can create a wonderful snapshot of the enjoyment levels within the audience and reflect really positively on the brand through a video compilation of the best responses, which can be hosted online.

Using live and online activity in this way not only builds loyalty through giving a memorable experience to customers, but also allows you to broadcast the fact you’ve done this, heightening positive associations with your brand.

Such experiential activity can also incorporate employees, boosting motivation levels and creating stronger brand ambassadors.

Tournaments like the Euros that lend themselves to this kind of communal celebration around a number of specific events don’t come round too often. And local satellite events can tap into the atmosphere and create an ‘as if I was there’ experience, while offering unlimited branding opportunities without the strictures that sponsoring the actual tournament can bring.

Ruben Pillai is Olympics Co-ordinator at Blackjack Promotions