Clever thinking. Beautifully executed.

Hunting big game in New Zealand

What we did

Content Strategy and Execution

The challenge

Aberdeen Standard Investments (formerly Standard Life Investments) are certainly no stranger to sports' sponsorship, with the Ryder Cup and Andy Murray on their scorecard. But their move to become Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions, as well as shirt sponsor, is a bold step forward. 

Working alongside Aberdeen Standard Investments and external stakeholders, we delivered a content strategy and execution plan that would bring the sponsorship to life, both on the ground in New Zealand and in the U.K. The goal was to resonate with Aberdeen Standard Investments’ clients and the community of rugby lovers and sports enthusiasts following the Lions tour. The campaign was underpinned by Standard Life Investments key messaging tagline ‘One Team. One Standard’ and framed through 4 key messages: Potential, Performance, Teamwork and Analysis.

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The game plan

We agreed early in the planning process that there were going to be a number of variables outside of our control while on the ground in New Zealand, so we needed a flexible approach to content production and distribution.

We highlighted 3 pillars that would form the basis for all of the activity:  

  • Planned – activity we had full control over: Twitter Amplify highlights clips, access to ambassadors, live match photography etc.
  • Planned Reactive – activities we knew would happen but weren’t 100% sure how they would materialise: the in-match live social commentary, on the ground activity that couldn’t be fully agreed until we were on the ground etc.
  • Reactive – the unknown activities – these are the bits you can never plan for; those last minute opportunities to interview players, capturing the amazing fan reactions and stories that are possible with a flexible client and approach.
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Key players

Once we had the content strategy in place, we looked at a number of elements to help build out the plan including:

  • The movements of the team (including BIL the Lion)
  • Our access to training sessions and press conferences
  • The locations we were going to be in (including the steaming Sulphur pools of Rotorua)
  • What other partners were doing, digitally and on the ground (including the nicest man in rugby, Scott Quinnell)
  • What the broadcast partners were planning e.g. Sky Sports

The follow through

As with any content, distribution is fundamental to its success. Working with Standard Life Investments, we collectively defined clear roles for each of their existing channels and partner engagement with a view to ramp-up activity depending on engagement, both organically and with paid support. As with all live events, being reactive is imperative as you never know whether you will win or lose or if the event will be a success.

Here’s how we handled our four main social channels:

Twitter – This was our main priority platform based on existing engagement and the opportunity to tap into existing conversations through tagging key accounts such as the Lions themselves, ambassadors and broadcasters. This also provided our greatest reach organically.

Facebook – We used this channel predominantly for key video pieces which we could apply reactive media spend to where appropriate.

Instagram - This channel wasn’t originally a key part of the approach but performed exceptionally well. Instagram stories proved successful, with our daily on-the-ground stories regularly being seen by over 50% of Standard Life Investment’s followers.

YouTube - This was the home for all our video content and the CTA destination for any videos supported with media spend.

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Responsive gameplay

We made some changes very early in the campaign in terms of both the video and image content we were creating. We had planned to create a lot more video content while in New Zealand, but factors such as far fewer fans than expected on the ground, short notice for interview access, and approvals with talent meant we refocussed our activity on imagery. In contrast, this content was generating far higher engagement across social media thanks to support from other partners, broadcasters and the official Lions channels as agreed pre-tour.