Hypertargeting 401: Co-Branding Relationships With Big Brand Impact

One of our favorite-ever campaigns is the BirdSpotter Photo Contest we created for Bob’s Red Mill. Our goal: to introduce Bob’s to birdwatchers (or “birders” as people in-the-know call them), who we discovered are equally as passionate about wholesome, naturally-sourced whole grain products. So we partnered with one of the world’s foremost birding associations, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, whose dedicated Facebook followers had never been marketed to by a non-bird specific product or brand.

Can you see where we’re going with this? If you guessed “Ooh, ooh, you’re going to use hypertargeting!” well, you get a gold star for paying attention. This campaign is a perfect example of how to hypertarget a niche audience with the added nuance a co-branded sponsorship.

We created a birding photo contest sponsored by Bob’s that ran on the Cornell Lab’s Facebook page—a platform connected to (at the time) a community of over 100,000 birding enthusiasts who already loved to share their own photos on Facebook.

The results were instantaneous and even better than we hoped for over its six months:

  • Fans uploaded 80 photos on the first day alone
  • Nearly 5,000 photos were entered
  • 47,000+ votes for winners cast
  • The contest tab was viewed more than 102,000 times
  • Overall impressions of Cornell Lab posts about the contest reached 3.2 million, with 86,700 people liking, commenting, and sharing the contest content.

We have no hesitation in calling the campaign a hit. Bob’s was able to forge a lasting partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that lead to more hypertargeted contests and projects, which is awesome considering their Facebook page now has nearly four times the Likes it had when we got started.

How did we know Bob’s was primed for a hypertargeting campaign? We’re glad you asked:

We started by looking at shared brand values. By finding a collaborator that shares your values, you essentially broaden your audience. You tell consumers who might be unfamiliar with or skeptical of your product, “Hey, we care about this too!”

Bob’s Red Mill already had a very strong hunch they shared values with birders, so we confirmed that hunch using a quick poll of Cornell Lab’s Facebook fans, and discovered birders were aligned with Bob’s in their commitment to taking care of themselves and their world with wholesome, earth-friendly foods. The cherry on top? They already knew they should have whole grains in their diet. But only about half even knew about Bob’s Red Mill.

Next step was to make those shared values obvious to the birding community in a way that tapped into the authentic behavior of the group. We didn’t want to seem opportunistic, which is why we went with a contest that not only rewarded people for participating (with great product and swag, of course), but also supported Cornell Lab’s citizen science efforts through donations and promotion of key Cornell programs.

The approach worked because it put the community first: Bob’s was able to tap into a preexisting hobby–posting their bird photos to Facebook to share with the birding world–and support the birding community’s conservation and education efforts in a meaningful way.

This is just one example of the kinds of co-branding opportunities you can pursue through hypertargeting. Imagine the other possibilities: hotels and transportation, footwear and camping gear, beer and burgers, productivity apps and personal finance apps…the list goes on, and those are just the obvious partnerships.

Now that you know what hypertargeting is, how it works, and how to use it, an infinite number of connections and opportunities await. Now get out there, think creatively, and target responsibly!

Missed any part of our hypertargeting series? Catch up with the links below:

  1. Hypertargeting 101: What It Is and What It Can Do for Your Brand
  2. Hypertargeting 201: Putting Demographics and Geographies to Work
  3. Hypertargeting 301: Maximize Demographics, Psychographics and Behaviors for Your Brand
Post Date
May 5, 2015
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