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Blogger Outreach: Center of Cirque’s Social Efforts

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.”

Reem Abeidoh writes on Social Media, Current Affairs, Marketing and More. Subscribe to her blog here and follow her on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. ViN says:

    Nice info man .. pls lemme know if i can do a guest post here

    I run a guitar blog! http://shredthisway.blogspot.com

    Vin
    http://ShredThisWay.Blogspot.com/

  2. Tim says:

    Reem:

    Thanks for sharing this very interesting story…I’m familiar with Cirque’s emphasis on the experience through their sponsorship program. They are an example of an organization that does things right and I admire their organization for many reasons. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to see their tribute to vaudville in Banana Schpeel this year, but I’ll catch the next one. Thanks for this!

  3. I was a fortunate Denver blogger invited to attend and tour backstage. That access did warrant a blog post – even better, I got a few other story ideas to pitch to other media.

  4. Penny Stocks says:

    i dont know much about Cirque, actually i heard it first time from here, lol
    anyways but now i will visit it and also follow it on twitter for updates on it

  5. mealdy says:

    thanks for your post, i’ll check this blog regually, though i’ve not too much time to spare…

  6. Nice post highlighting Cirque’s very interesting strategy using social media to build buzz and get the word out. I, too, was one of the lucky bloggers at BlogWold who was able to attend one of their fabulous shows, LOVE.

    I had a chance to interview Jessica Berlin and also wrote about their strategy as well. Can’t wait for next year!

    http://www.almostsavvy.com/2009/11/07/creating-evangelists-social-media-the-cirque-du-soleil-way/

  7. George says:

    That’s really interesting. Cirque’s success is really due to the fact that they do things differently. They are so successful that they redefined the idea of a ‘circus’.

    What is great about the outreach program is that it is authentic. The bloggers shared their opinion, whether it was positive or negative.

    That raises the stakes for Cirque, and makes them accountable to the true feelings of their customers. This is in clear contrast to traditional advertising. The days of brainwashing people through commercials using actors on television are done. A new dawn of quality and integrity is upon us.

  8. Thanks for the great post Reem. Working with bloggers is one of the best parts of my job. Bloggers are able to help tell the story of their experience at our shows better than anyone else can. Their posts are things are potential ticket buyers can really relate to.
    Here are just two of the great examples of some of the results from our blogger outreach regarding our show LOVE:
    Guy Kawasaki – http://holykaw.alltop.com/behind-the-scenes-tour-of-the-beatles-love-ci
    @iizliz – http://iizliz.posterous.com/review-of-cirque-du-soleils-love-show-in-las

  9. Deborah Azor says:

    I do not generally comment on web sites but I needed to drop in and say thanks for making this, I absolutely agree with the fact and with a little luck people today can understand this argument.

  10. Ya i agree social efforts can help out your blog and give you a good look rather then a guy who is trying to make money. Although i have nothing wrong with that.