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Brands find livestreaming rewards

News, 01 April 2016

NEW YORK: Despite a degree of risk associated with livestreaming, an increasing number of brand marketers are trying out live video platforms as a means of engagement because they believe their authenticity delivers results.

US retailer Target, cosmetics firm Benefit and German carmaker BMW have all used Periscope, the app acquired by Twitter last year, to livestream events and promotions, and their representatives told the Financial Times what they discovered.

BMW, for example, used Periscope to livestream information about its new M2 coupé because it knew that the brand's enthusiasts would be keen to find out as much detail as possible.

"We gave them as much access as we could do to the product," said Ed Brojerdi, chief executive of agency KBS, which worked with BMW on the campaign.

"It creates a special moment that releasing static photography or a write-up wouldn't and it's participatory," he explained.

Meanwhile, Target used a mixture of Periscope, Facebook Live and Snapchat to livestream behind-the-scenes footage of the recent Grammy awards, which helped to promote the event by signing up social media influencers.

Kristi Argyilan, svp of marketing at Target, said marketing has now moved on from "paying for slick packaging for messaging to force on the consumer".

Instead, she said, customers "want to engage in dialogue with a brand and for a brand to be really authentic in how we're presenting ourselves".

Consumer participation and authenticity appear to be the main attractions of livestreaming for brands, although potential disadvantages include difficulties in measuring audiences and, of course, the risk of a PR mishap being played out live.

Facebook Live is another platform that brands are trying out, although it has not yet opened itself up to advertising.

Carmaker Chevrolet and luxury retailer Kate Spade have used the medium and it has also caught the interest of Southwest Airlines, which has used livestreaming to keep its customers updated about poor weather conditions.

"We're definitely paying attention to Facebook Live," said Brooks Thomas, the communications adviser at Southwest Airlines. "The number of live viewers is substantially larger than Periscope. It is a pretty big juggernaut."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff