The Golden Globe Awards officially kicked off “Awards Season” in Hollywood last week. It’s quite a busy time for the artists, directors, actors that make the music, movies and tv shows… but perhaps even busier for the business executives, support teams and publicists who are in full-on marketing mode.
Occasionally the art transcends any amount of marketing dollars; when critical praise turns into the popular acclaim and the cultural zeitgeist takes over. Those are the rare and special moments that make it all worthwhile. But more times than not, it requires strategy, planning, creativity, time and financial investment to create and amplify the buzz. Although you can rarely spend your way to a ‘hit,’ our job, as marketers, is to give the project the best possible shot at getting seen and garnering support. And that starts long before any awards show goes live from the red carpet.
A ‘For Your Consideration’ campaign is essentially a B2B marketing campaign. Each awards show and governing organization has a set number of voters who have specific credentials that make them eligible to vote. They are, no doubt, bombarded with solicitations of materials, invitations, ads, flyers, mailers, emails, notes, outdoor ads and more direct and indirect messaging and communication to capture their attention and consideration for an awards nomination/submission. Finding interesting, authentic ways to reach these voters is vital; getting their support early can be just as critical.
To get those critical eyeballs, marketing campaigns begin months in advance… sometimes before any movie or album is even finished! From protected streaming links for key industry tastemakers, exclusive listening or viewing events, early targeted publicity and so on, are tactics all laid out to garner early support and build industry buzz. Those marketing materials, quotes, press hits are then lined up, distributed, promoted and advertised to build momentum and keep people talking.
Although often we see FYC billboard ads scattered around the major movie studios, specifically positioned for industry eyeballs, connecting with a wider audience around award season is also important.
If wider support exists from the general music / movie-loving public, it becomes very difficult for voters to ignore. Marketing to a wider, yet still targeted, audience can really drive campaigns and remind voters. Nominations and wins become a windfall for existing and future business. That tail-end of promotion gets new life and can drive sales for months and months after the win.
There are four critical steps that every FYC content marketing plan should include:
1. Know Your Audience.
First and foremost, it is the voters. Know where they are. Where they go. What they do. What they like. What they want. Don’t forget to engage with the informed general public to garner more support. Public semitment can sway voters, too. Ultimately, it’s the larger audience that you want to stream, buy, share the art.
2. Be Clear on Your Goal, Then Strategize and Plan.
Are you aiming for the Best New Album or Best Director win? The category and potential competition are important to consider with respect to where you might have the best shot at winning. Then plan the content to support that goal. Timing is also critical. You need to pay attention to release dates, submission and nomination dates, and rounds of voting so as not to miss any deadlines that would potentially take you out of the running. As far as marketing, a release planned very far in advance of the submission / nomination period means requires a long-lead “refresh” plan to stir the collective memory when the key dates come back around. Meanwhile, a release date very close to submission / nomination deadlines might not have enough time to garner that support (hence the tricky strategy around the art of the release date).
3. Be Prepared!
Work out the timeline and budget, key resources and level of effort required for content ideation, creation and production. These timelines come up quicker than people are usually prepared for. So get your assets built out early and have your paid advertising plan ready. Producing a ready-to-go packet of variable assets will be critical. These can be used and refreshed across social and paid media channels, influencer campaigns and even more guerrilla-style activations. Getting your advertising inventory and space held in advance will preclude that terrible, sinking feeling when you get that critical accolade but have no place to make the splash even bigger, share the news and promote.
4. Is it Working?
Are you reaching the right audience in the right way? Being able to pivot when and where necessary (see: leave enough time by planning ahead) is critical, which means you cannot go through the marketing motions, or “set it and forget it.” Whether it is the artist or talent’s publicity team, the network or studio’s marketing team or just an avid producer with money to spend, you have to be engaged in what is taking place across all activation channels and make informed decisions on the next best move.
So as you settle in for a season of black tie affairs, red carpets, interviews, opening numbers, acceptance speeches and all of the glitz and glamour that comes with awards shows from the comfort of your couch, take a moment to look past the stars and admire the effort required to get them there… as well as the folks (usually dressed in black) ushering the stars along the carpet, or sitting at the table just behind the celebrities. Everyone needs a great supporting cast.