PUMA Adds Instagram and Tumblr To The Blogger Outreach Mix

by Brian DiFeo on Jan 26, 2012

To what lengths will a brand go in order to be “cool”?

After traveling to Abu Dhabi with PUMA, I’d say the answer is farther than you’d think.

I checked in to the Sheraton Hotel in Abu Dhabi on January 8, 2012, with one other popular Instagram user and 8 other well-known bloggers. We were assembled by PUMA’s marketing team to cover the Volvo Ocean Race from our own perspective.

With a combined total reach at millions Tumblr of Instagram followers, our interests are decidedly not sports; instead our content ranges from fashion and lifestyle to culture and design.

What we had in common was a passion for great photos.

Needless to say, PUMA was thinking outside the box on this new approach to brand outreach.

PUMA took a chance.

They experimented.

And they did a lot of things right. Below are 3 key lessons learned for brands that might want to explore in order to reach new audiences and markets.

1. Cast a Wide Net

PUMA has most social media channels set up and running, but having 10 non-sports bloggers posting daily anecdotes from the trip touched new audiences they might not have reached.

One example is the tribute to our group by photographer/blogger James Nord, which has over 5,000 Tumblr notes and a direct link to Puma’s Sailing blog. Examples like this demonstrate how PUMA tapped influential voices in areas that would be difficult to penetrate via more traditional strategies.

2. Give Bloggers All Access

PUMA gave us every opportunity to experience the country and the sailing race as VIPs: desert tours in 4×4 trucks; a visit to the world’s largest mall in Dubai; participating in the Pro-Am race next to professional sailors; and access to media boats, private parties, fancy dinners, and behind-the-scenes aspects of the world’s most grueling sailing competition.

As a result, these special moments were shared with our audiences, like Instagram user @takinyerphoto, whose images often received thousands of likes.

Jamie Beck, a photographer and one of the most well-known bloggers on Tumblr, has over 4,400 notes on one incredible cinemagraph from PUMA’s boat, Mar Mostro. With reblogging gaining popularity, this user-generated content is being re-posted by other bloggers, continuing the cycle of influence and outreach. A great example is this post by Darci Bastiaan, who reblogged the same photo and added his own story.

3. Encourage Unique and Universal Tagging

It can be difficult to determine the true reach of a social media campaign, especially one that doesn’t focus on clicks. One way to gauge this reach is by cultivating specific hashtags. The group was encouraged to tag photos and blog posts with #MarMostro (the name of the boat), which can be easily found on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter.

Especially on a platform such as Instagram, these tags will exist and be searchable forever.

Summary and Predictions

While I am portraying this approach to brand outreach as a success, there is no clear ROI or hard statistics for CTR, etc.

If the marketing team of a forward-thinking brand wants to embrace this type of outreach, they shouldn’t abandon traditional strategies; instead a balance of both approaches are appropriate.

In 2012 we will see an increase in this form of outreach, if only because blogs and apps continue to grow in popularity. By partnering with an influential voice on a platform like Instagram, a brand can drive more traffic to their account on that same platform, which otherwise might take weeks or even months to grow.

Consumers are posting content about brands on social networks every day, so why not support brand evangelists and give them a little special treatment? I know I’ll wear my PUMA clothing with pride, and I’ll be talking about my trip to Abu Dhabi for years to come.

Lead image source: Brian DiFeo Tumblr

Post Author

Brian is Co-founder at The Mobile Media Lab, a startup that works with brands on Instagram, and founder at Instagram NYC, one of the most active Instagram Meetup groups in the world. Learn more at bridif.com....