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“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man”, a strong warning by none other than Albert Einstein. In recent years, the honey-bee population has seen a massive decline. This is a pretty scary development when you look back on Einstein’s words.
What has the world done to about this? A movement of green rooftops, or urban bee-keeping, has sprung up around the world. “Rooftop bees’ global star has risen nearly as quickly as the Beatles and urban beekeeping is the rage from Melbourne to Paris to London”, Albright, 2014, nationalgeographic.com states.
The movement quickly spread to Irish soil. In July 2014, Allied Irish Bank (AIB) launched Ireland’s first rooftop apiary, actively demonstrating their support to the global cause. With Boyne Valley Honey as a partner and with the help of the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations (FIBKA), over 200,000 bees were installed on the sixth storey roof of AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge. http://business.aib.ie/bees.
But the story didn’t stop there…
As AIB’s digital partner, we were tasked with raising awareness of AIB’s bee-keeping initiative online. Quickly, we needed to figure out how to amplify this CSR initiative on the right channels to the right audience at the right time.
We had a three fold approach.
Partnering with a production company, we produced a compelling time-lapse video illustrating the build of the apiary on the roof of the AIB bankcentre. The video also portrayed influential stakeholders such as- Simon Scroope (Head of Corporate Banking), Malachey McCloskey (President Boyne Valley Group), and Philip McCabe (Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations), and their thoughts on the purpose of the initiative.
We seeded the video content out organically to the public on AIB social channels. On both Twitter and Facebook, the video posts generated high engagement with zero negative sentiment.
In addition, we produced an educational piece of artwork that illustrated the story of the honeybee and depicted what AIB is doing to help the bee. This infographic was also distributed organically on the AIB LinkedIn channel and generated the highest engagement of all posts for 2014.
It wasn’t enough for Ireland to be bee-aware. We wanted to tell the world. So, we piloted a social media network release (SMNR) to generate international awareness and buzz on AIBees. The SMNR included key information assets, i.e. the press release, the video, infographic and photocall images. This SMNR was targeted at key influencers within the business, economic and green press outlets.
10 online news sources used the SMNR content as part of an editorial piece (including Joe.ie, Business & Leadership, Independent.ie). Internationally, it was picked up by Bloomberg and Contacto Latino. Our SMNR performed extremely well overall and generated a performance score of 79%, nearly 20% above the average 60%.
Why? It gave editors something really useful, something that was contextually relevant, and something that could be easily shared with readers.
The lesson learned: Like AIB, brands need to essentially show their commitment to CSR initiatives, not just make claims. Brands must actually prove by doing and actively engage with green movements. In addition, brands and agencies need to produce content in a way that’s relevant and useful at the end of the day. Otherwise, without putting your audience’s needs first, your message is lost.