Ten Insights From Living With The Lions


Ten Key Insights for Live Event Content

Matt Brawn, Senior Content Strategist at Realise, spent six weeks on the road earlier this summer with the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand. Our client Aberdeen Standard Investments (formerly Standard Life Investments) were the principal sponsorship partner for the tour. Matt was with them for every moment helping them to maximise the opportunities to engage with their diverse audience through compelling live event content.

You can read all about his trip here Living with the Lions. But if you fancy a quick overview of the 10 key insights he gained from the trip read on...

1.   Create a flexible strategy

Working on the ground is incredibly fast paced so naturally you need a plan. But just having a plan isn't enough. To ensure success everyone needs to be on-board. We made sure our plan was agreed and everyone's roles and tasks were clear with the client before we left for NZ. 

We agreed and signed off our key messages for each channel and set boundaries so everyone knew what we could create. This helped us bypass complex, time-consuming sign off processes and quickly get impactful content live. 


2.  Don't over plan it

This was a big one. You need a plan, but the best plans are those that can flex. When you're on the ground with a tour of this scale you must be able to adapt quickly.

3.  Select your ‘on the ground’ team wisely

Make sure you've got the right people on the ground for the job in hand. 

If you’re doing live ‘in-game’ social content you’ll need experts on the game who can quickly provide stats and/or copy for your content.

If you are planning on lots of reactive content, taking a one-man producer/editor is a must. You’ll also need someone who can manage relationships and has impeccable negotiation and logistics skills. Schedules change on an hourly basis but the deadlines still need to be met. 

4.  Keep things moving

With so many moving parts, rapidly changing conversations and ad-hoc activity you may find that your primary contact or decision maker is unavailable to sign off on minor changes. By agreeing what is and isn't flexible and at what stage content or activity needs to be reviewed and signed off you can maintain the speed and efficiency needed to own the social conversation.


5.  Allow extra time

Always allow more time than you think you will need for set ups, filming, production and -most importantly - approvals with partners, talent and clients. External factors can have unforeseen consequences on your plans so this contingency will really help.

6.  Talk daily

As you can imagine, clear communication  is vital. Catching up on email or a daily call will help keep the workload streamlined and prioritised. It also helps multiple teams (those on the ground, and in different time zones) to collaborate effectively. These calls were extremely valuable to us all and saved a lot of time and effort. 

7.  Always be open


Some of the best content pieces we created while out in NZ came from chats in hotel lobbies, bars or just out and about. Be open to speaking to strangers; you never know the stories they may be holding onto. For example, we got chatting to a couple in the team’s hotel who turned out to be huge Lions fans who were helping rebuild Christchurch after the devastating earthquake. We managed to get a snap of them holding a 10m SLI branded jersey, and then later had the picture featured on Yahoo Sports.

8.  Keep it simple

A big flashy two minute film with drones and tracking shots might sound great in the creative suite, but sometimes less is more. As we found on the ground, imagery can outperform video and has a much shorter production time frame. Weigh up production timelines and outputs to see if the effect is worth the production effort and then do what brings the biggest benefit. A perfect example of being flexible.

9.  Think about the future


Think about how the content you are making now ages post event. Identify the evergreen content that can be created and techniques like leaving out specific dates on games or videos you hope will go viral. Think about the channels you will be publishing on and if there is media spend to support it. Social budgets will really boost your visibility so have these agreed and signed off beforehand to you gain the most visibility possible. 

10. Stay connected

Hotel WIFI is great, but when you’re in the middle of a 5-hour car journey with approval deadlines looming a MIFI device very quickly becomes your new best friend.

Come pre-prepared with this device, it will be a life saver. 

Interested in hearing more?

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help deliver engaging brand messages, through live content during your events .

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Matt Brawn