Provo City’s Epic Marketing of Google Fiber


I’m starting to notice a trend in content marketing and in my own marketing. I spend a lot of time on building solid content, but my ability to build up to the release of that content and continuing to market the content once it’s live, is lacking. So I began to look for examples of people who were good at the art of build up. That led me to remember the announcement that Provo City was the third city in the US to get Google Fiber and the epic way they built up suspense to the news.

viral hashtag

Provo city’s epic marketing – how a hashtag went viral

 

How did the city build so much anticipation for this announcement, in a way that was unlike any other city who got Fiber? I wanted to know. I requested an interview with Mayor Curtis, who is easier to book than most CEOs. It was featured on Forbes.com, by my friend Cheryl Connor. You can read it here: Power Marketing: How to Make a Hashtag Go Viral. The story that Mayor Curtis got kudos for his social media power on Forbes also picked up by local news station KSL. This type of press has got to make the Mayor look good but even more, it’s not an act. He’s involved and invested in being part of and showcasing the city. He is part of the social scene and activity of Provo both on and offline.

Even though I don’t live in Provo I started to see references to #ProvoEpicAnnouncement show up on Twitter and Facebook. At first I didn’t care, but as I saw it more, I became curious, and later I became hooked. People began to guess what the announcement was and the social media team played into it by sharing guesses and otherwise fueling speculation. I remember my anticipation as I listened to the press conference and followed the hashtag, and how I reloaded the page to see what everyone was saying. They had my full attention and curiosity. They broke through the clutter of my day. That says a lot.

John Curtis and his team are respected for their use of social media, but this news was a high point. Most of his success is from being actively engaged in, being transparent on, and planning for social media every single day. I believe this announcement took their marketing of future news to a higher level. From now on they don’t simply tell the city council or the public something, they market the announcement with teaser video, blog posts or clues. He told me when they announced a $1.1 million deal to keep mining out of Rock Canyon (yay) that they deliberately built up to the news. What was telling is that the press tweeted about it using the #ProvoEpicAnnouncement hashtagThe hashtag has become a way to describe any big news from Provo. I believe it elevated the city in everyone’s minds. Not only that, many people feel like they are friends with Curtis, we feel like we know and like him. That’s what social media can do.

I decided to apply what I learned from Curtis for an event that I’m hosting. Rather than just spring the news of the event on everyone, I decided to hype it a bit. I created an image that said, “something big is coming” and posted a teaser about the event on Facebook. I asked everyone to reserve the date and let them know that more details were coming soon. That got a lot of people talking.

A few weeks later I teased the announcement again, this time with a photo from my client’s business and a little more information. In that post I said, look for the announcement to go live tomorrow.  The next day I got so busy I almost forgot to post the invitation to the event. However, someone said she could hardly get any work done she was so excited. Many people were waiting for my announcement! I posted the invitation immediately. The hype was not made up though. I know this client will put on an incredible event. He understands and uses social media already. He’s also knows and uses the power of beautiful design in marketing. So I had the right materials. We got a recognized name as a sponsor. I’m genuinely excited for the event.  I don’t believe you can fake it, it’s got to be real.

What happened shocked me. As soon as I posted the event, I started to get RSVPs. Every minute there were more coming in. So I commented on the post letting everyone know that I was blown away by the response so far. I texted my client and emailed our sponsor to let them know that this was going to fill up. Signups kept coming in and the event was full by the end of the day. I was hoping for 30 people. I got over 100. The conversation with my client became how to keep the party going and how to expand everything. I loved that conversation (and so did he).

In my career, I managed to market a meeting so well that the whole office was buzzing about it. I became friends with the presenter (whom I’d never met) and we’re still friends today, years after that meeting.  It was memorable for years after. It created a friendship. That is the power of marketing. It can add life to everything. It can elevate. It can turn the mundane into epic.

Please share examples you’ve seen of brands or others build up events or content. I’ve done it, I want to get better at it still. I’m still learning…


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