Special Brand Storytelling Report
How Brands are Turning to Live Streaming

When in-person gatherings are restricted, what are brands to do with their experiential and event marketing plans? How do marketers reach and engage with sports, music and entertainment fans? How can face-to-face experiences be replicated online? The pandemic has forced innovation in the experiential marketing realm. Live streaming has been available for several years, but today brands are making quick pivots to leverage the technology to reach and build audiences.

For the next four weeks, Brand Storytelling will cover the live streaming trends, including:

 Case studies (B2C and B2B)
 Marketing strategies of live online events
 How to build and retain audience
 Choosing the right platform(s)
 Production techniques and costs
 Talent and influencers
 Livestream resources

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Highlighting Brands Innovating with Live Streaming

Celebrity/Influencer: Zach LaVine and LosPollosTV
Brand: OMEN by HP
Platform: Twitch
Reach: 4.6k views
Time: Wednesday July 22 1pm PST

OMEN by HP hosted a branded livestream on Twitch, combining talents from two disparate worlds: Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and streamer LosPollosTV. 

The gaming PC maker’s event, dubbed “CROSSOVER by OMEN” featured the duo playing Call of Duty: Warzone and unboxing the latest laptop from OMEN. This combination is especially appealing right now, at a time when the worlds of professional sports and Esports are merging rapidly. 

More and more athletes are becoming streamers, either on their own channels or on their League’s. In one of the more recent and surprising examples of this kind of partnership, the NBA 2K League and Twitch signed a multiyear agreement for streaming rights in April.

As these worlds merge, brands are going to have to figure out how to fit into this picture, and this week’s example from OMEN is a good example. 

“CROSSOVER” is a recurring series, with a rotating cast of athletes and streamers. The serial nature of the event and the inclusion of multiple influencers from different spheres increases the likelihood of success for the brand. 

LaVine and LosPollos both promoted the event on their social channels, reaching another 575k potential viewers (Twitter). On top of that, the followings of Aaron Gordon and JakenbakeLive (the athlete/streamer combination from the previous season of “CROSSOVER”) were primed for this event as well, another 250k potential viewers (Twitter). 

With any livestream, there is a sense of urgency that drives people to watch, and when this is coupled with a giveaway, like OMEN did in this livestream event, that urgency is amplified. 

OMEN’s stream was exclusive to Twitch, and in this instance, the gaming-focused platform is the obvious choice for a gaming-focused company. While the number of livestreaming platforms are relatively limited right now, we can expect to see the number of niche platforms rise over the coming years as more companies explore this technology.

One concerning aspect of this event the heavy dose of spam in the chat, as you can see below. Much of the spam content was related to the brand giveaway, and brands should anticipate spam like this with any kind of giveaway during their event. 

Between the spam, however, viewers were consistently commenting on the large number of viewers, while others suggested the view count could be attributed to bots. While the stream was live, the concurrent view count reached 55k, but it was later adjusted to the current figure—4.6k. Twitch has resources on how to handle botting, and this is definitely something brands should consider reviewing before their streams and should take into account when studying the metrics from livestreams.

Source 1
Source 2

Brand Bites
Recent Live Streams from Top Brands

Event: Hermès | Men's Spring-Summer 2021 live performance
Platform: YouTube
Reach: 27.6k views
Time/Date: July 5 @
Description: Without the ability to present their collection to an in-person audience, the brand found an innovative way to show off their new items. The highly produced live performance is ambitious and engaging and goes against the grain of the raw, low-budget aesthetic in many livestreams. 

Planet Fitness
Event: “United We Move”
Platform: Facebook Live
Reach: Tuesday’s video had 105k views
Time/Date: Every Monday-Friday 7pm EST @
Description: These live workouts take place every weekday, and feature a trainer going through a 20 to 30 minute routine in a Planet Fitness gym. The workouts are easily accessible on their Facebook page and their consistency makes it easy to build an audience.

Event: Honda Virtual Adventure – Niagara Falls
Platform:  YouTube
Reach: 5.6k views
Time/Date: July 1 @
Description: This informative stream provides an in-depth tour of one of America’s natural treasures for those who might not be able to travel these days. Utilizing a picture-in-picture format, the stream provided both a talking head and a view of Google Earth as the tour covered the history of Niagara Falls. 

Opportunities for Brands to Connect with Successful Streamers

Tip Your Waitstaff
Celebrity/Influencer: Mike Birbiglia and others
Brand: None
Platform: Instagram Live
Reach: Est. 700k+ views (approx. view count from clips on Instagram)
Time/Date: About 20 recurring segments between March 21-May 21

Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, writer, actor and director. He has released five comedy specials, written and directed a feature film, and has produced several podcasts on comedy. He has worked closely with Ira Glass, Judd Apatow, John Mulaney, and dozens of other comedians and funny people. 

In March, he and other comedians started a project called Tip Your Waitstaff, raising money for the staff of comedy clubs and other venues around the country impacted by COVID-19. From their website: “After an initial Instagram Live chat between the two comedians, Birbiglia produced a series of livestreams in which he worked out new jokes with other comics to raise awareness of the fundraising effort. What started with 12 GoFundMe’s has grown into over 50 online fundraisers managed by the clubs and venues themselves, with donations for furloughed employees totaling over $500,000.”

That number is now over $600,000, with over 9k individual contributors. What’s significant is the relatively small size of Birbiglia’s social media footprint. Today he has 176k followers on Instagram and 15k subscribers on YouTube. 

Every week, audiences were primed for these events and most likely had these events pushed to them by Instagram because they had already seen similar content from Birbiglia.

By comparison, Netflix, with 1.3M YouTube subscribers, garnered about 1.2 million views for their series of livestream table reads which raised funds for various charities. 

While still successful, Netflix’s success is less surprising than Birbiglia’s, which lacked the support of a powerful brand. It’s easy to imagine possibilities for brand partnerships with Tip Your Waitstaff and Birbiglia, but the big takeaway should be that when celebrities or influencers create authentic livestream content, the sky’s the limit, with or without a brand.

Livestream comedy can be even trickier than regular comedy, but the keys to success for Birbiglia (and Netflix) were charity, intimate access to talent, and including as many people as possible. 
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