Today Reem Abeidoh provides an interesting case study of blogger outreach conducted by Cirque Du Soleil.
The practice of blogger outreach isn’t new. This engagement model continues to be popular mainly because it has proven to effectively build awareness and drive consumer consideration. Cirque Du Soleil realizes the potential blogger outreach has on its prospective and loyal customers. By investing in this practice, Cirque has essentially fostered a community of bloggers who support and evangelize on its behalf!
I first learned about Cirque’s blogger outreach campaign when I was at BlogWorld Expo. Jessica Berlin, Cirque’s Social Media Manager, invited 250 bloggers to attend a show of their choice and share their genuine feedback on their respective blogs. This resulted in significant chatter on blogs and twitter about the “Cirque Experience.” By simply engaging members of the blogger community, Jessica was able to convert them into brand ambassadors. This served as a great case study of a brand leveraging blogger outreach to establish a community.
Diversified Brand, Diversified Approach
Cirque is quickly moving toward delivering the right information to the right audience at the right time in the right place. This hyper-targeted approach allows Cirque to directly connect with its customers during their discovery journey. It is especially important to the brand because Cirque features 20 shows that are unique in character, story line, demographic and appeal. According to Jessica, “Each show has a little bit of a different audience demo so we know what type of content and language would work better. For example, people who are fans of Zumanity, our sexy show, are interested in much different things than Wintuk, our family-oriented production.”
Matchmaking Consumers with Content
Much like the entertainment industry, Cirque is the umbrella brand that features a variety of shows and experiences. So the task is not only to match the right content with bloggers, but also to connect readers with content. Jessica does not only need to think about what the blogger would be interested in, but also: Will the reader be convinced? Will they care? Will it help them decide? Will that show be appropriate for their 5 year old?
Earned content holds credibility and weight in prospective customers’ eyes. When bloggers detail a show’s elements, a customer’s decision-making process is impacted in two core ways: 1- Learn about Cirque as an entertainment option, and 2- Consider attending a show. Jessica says, “Bloggers help us because they really give detailed accounts of their experiences at a show. They help explain the differences between the productions. If they’ve seen more than one Cirque show, bloggers are great at describing what’s different. If they’re new to Cirque, bloggers help explain why Cirque du Soleil is so unique.”
Experience the brand through the Content
Despite the variety of show genres, there is one common element across all Cirque shows. Cirque is about experiencing the entertainment. Attendees are engaged from the moment the theme-clad staff scans their ticket to the moment they exit the theater. Bloggers draw a picture that allows the customers to visualize the experience. Jessica added, “While seeing our shows is entertaining, it can also be an emotional experience and no one tells that story better than a blogger. So many bloggers like to express their feelings and not just report on the “facts”, which is great for describing a Cirque du Soleil performance.”
It was interesting to see how Cirque has essentially come full circle with customers always centered right in the middle. As Jessica said, “Twenty-five years ago, Cirque du Soleil was built on grassroots efforts. In a way, social media is bringing us back to our roots.”