The Brits 2016 – The year everyone was invited

Before the month of ‘The Brits’ draws to an end, I’d like to keep us thinking about one of the most important events on the music calendar, a little longer. Being renowned worldwide as one of the most respected events in the music industry, the PR and marketing team had a prestigious reputation to retain (they certainly couldn’t afford to slip up). For the event to succeed, not only did the night need to present itself as a masterpiece of entertainment, but also implement a PR strategy that engaged audiences beyond those who were sat in London’s O2 Arena. This post critiques how The Brits 2016, enabled a global audience to enjoy and embrace all the event had to offer.

It’s a given that the heated moments, impressive performances and iconic fashion statements we see year on year are going to give people something to talk about. So it’s no surprise that the event has high engagement with news platforms. The award ceremony has never been short of its controversial and memorable moments: Adele flicking the V’s up in 2012; Robbie Williams challenging Liam Gallagher to a televised boxing match in 2000; and Kate Moss voicing David Bowie’s political view on the 2014 Scottish referendum quoting “Scotland please stay with us”. Like previous years, emotions at The 2016 Brit Awards were running high, and journalists certainly won’t have been struggling to grab a juicy celeb story as: the Queen of the show, Adele,  won four awards; Lorde hit heart strings with her David Bowie tribute; and Liam Gallagher voiced controversial tweets about award choices.

This year’s event, which not only entertained but influenced, went beyond the use of glamour, celebrities and sponsorship to engage people. It capitalised on emerging PR techniques, ensuring that the event went further than just the radio and newspaper! The 2016 strategy, proves to be pivotal, now known as a digital milestone and the ‘landmark digital year’. As it’s unravelled, it can be admired for its thorough and intelligent use of online platforms- optimising engagement by encouraging interaction from target audiences!

The event took digital audiences by storm. Offering its audience access to an extended amount of entertainment, allowing them to experience the show beyond their TV screens. You name a social media platform, The Brits were sure to have used it as a creative media outlet. Online audiences didn’t have to look far for anything, because the communication was targeted at the correct people on the correct platforms – and so, an online community was  built by posting relevant, captivating and well-timed content. The online presence of the event was a success due to the strategy going beyond the barriers associated with one-way communication, enabling people to interact. Giving fans power, by enabling them to Tweet and vote for the winners of two categories, proved particularly effective. In the digital age that PR now finds itself in, generating interaction and developing personalised content is key to driving engagement. The Brits used Twitter to implement this technique both before and during the event, as fans were able to transform their favourite artists into exclusive ‘Britmojis’.

Recently, effective content marketing (especially the use of video) has been the key to engaging online audiences. The Brits use of video was commendable, successfully maintaining people’s attention by extending the outreach of their video footage to popular apps, live streams and their Facebook page. The strategy, which fed video into various platforms and ensured that content across social media platforms were linked, engaged an online community which strengthened overall media coverage.

For the first time ever, both Instagram and snapchat provided users with 24 hour available live coverage from the event. Vine also joined, creating its own special tab! Such availability of footage enabled fans to continuously re-experience the entertainment, and to follow key influencers (guests, nominees and official partners, such as BBC Newsbeat) on their Brit Awards journey. These apps were effectively people’s ‘access all areas’ pass which generated excitement for fans, stimulating emotion and experiences similar to those who were actually there. The interaction opportunities didn’t stop there. Even the traditional press office was re-vamped web 2.0 style, enabling fans to ask award-winning artists questions via a live video on the Facebook page.

Like the past three years, the show was livestreamed on Youtube, enabling it to reach international audiences. This year the live stream was taken one step further as their official Facebook page was used to broadcast ‘all things glamour and gossip’ live from the red carpet! The Brits 2016 was brave enough to step on the ‘new territory’ of marketing, using a 360 degree camera to advance the live stream strategy and provide Facebook users with a memorable virtual experience!

The Brits has always been associated with high expectations and everyone has always wanted to be immersed in the event’s action. So, no wonder the PR efforts went above and beyond to dominate social media platforms. What puts this year above the rest, is the focus on video to drive engagement! The event capitalised on this emerging communications trend, leaving audiences far from disappointed! With this years use of livestream revolutionising engagement strategy, people will now expect no less. And it seems that the industries concentration will continue to be on video. Does this mean that The Brits 2017 will be the year of the VR? I hope so!


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