In 2014, General Electric (GE) was poised to open a new Global Research Center (GRC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the latest of its nine GRCs around the world – with a focus on subsea oil and gas exploration. The Brazilian GRC represented an investment of US$500 million in the country.
The communication activity for the official opening event needed to reflect not only the magnitude of this investment, but also the strategic importance of hosting a facility for Brazilian scientific and technological development.
The main challenge for integrated communications agency Edelman Significa was to deliver relevant digital branded content for the launch event in real time to GE’s key audiences: cutting-edge engineers, government bodies, potential clients, science and technology professionals, and the GE team around the world. The digital branded content had to include a multitude of facts surrounding the GRC’s Rio launch and what it truly represents for Brazil and Latin America.
How could the agency engage the relevant online audiences via GE’s digital channels?
Edelman Significa’s strategy was to create a global ‘moment’ to position GE as one of the best innovation partners for industries and governments through a ‘Creative Newsroom’: a huge burst of real-time coverage, creating relevant digital branded content and generating conversations around the launch event in more than 90 of GE’s owned channels around the world.
To make this happen, Edelman Significa organised a digital team of 10 professionals, including photographers, content producers, community managers, designers, and specialists in social listening and live monitoring. All of them were primed to work flat out before, during and after the GRC opening event to predict key moments, develop compelling content, activate it and evaluate all the real-time results.
The team also had to plan all the interactions between GE’s business social channels across 13 different regions around the world.
DISTRIBUTION & ENGAGEMENT
At the heart of the project, they used GE’s digital content hub – GE Reports Brazil – to host all the stories the Creative Newsroom team developed about the new GRC. This blog-style platform enables key audiences to get deeper inside GE’s solutions, thinking and best- practice case studies.
The Creative Newsroom activation was part of a larger, integrated communications strategy for the GRC launch that involved the Media Relations, Digital & Advertising, Public Affairs and Internal Communication teams at GE.
On 13 November 2014 – launch day – the Creative Newsroom team sent out a specially tailored newsletter to more than 6,000 subscribers interested in GE’s innovations and technologies.
The hashtag #LetsInnovate was one of the most important focal points for curating digital conversations about the event. Online influencers, such as Meio Bit (a well-known technology blog in Brazil) were invited to participate in real- time coverage, sharing the big GRC moments on Twitter and Facebook. Some influencers – including Gizmodo, Hypenees and Mother Board – were commissioned by GE to cover the event and share special stories about GRC Rio’s contribution to Latin America’s infrastructure and innovative development. In addition, the main social posts published in GE’s local owned channels were promoted.
Other technology blogs, government and NGO figures shared the official content organically, promoting some interesting interactions with GE.
Photo coverage activity included providing images for the press and government authorities. The GE Reports Brazil hub itself provided assets for 13 regions and nine GE global business units.
RESULTS & OUTCOMES
The GE Creative Newsroom was a real-time, editorial- led, branded content project that not only resulted in a burst of coverage about the Brazilian GRC launch, but also fed a long-term conversation about the facility’s activities across all digital platforms after the event. It put GE’s innovation credentials on the conversational agenda of highly targeted business, government and institutional audiences.
Several important government figures and associations interacted with GE’s official channels during the GRC launch event, and the project more than doubled its objective of engaging with 100,000 relevant people, exceeding 220,000.
Ultimately, the project has positioned GE as one of the most relevant local partners for innovation in Brazil, and as part of a global innovation network that’s always open to developing the best solutions for clients and regional needs.
Our new research center in Brazil will allow GE to innovate locally for our customers in Latin America and then export those innovations to the world.
Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO,GE
The use of a highly focussed and targeted digital branded content strategy, with largely editorial-based content delivered in real time, enabled the key messages surrounding GE’s new GRC in Brazil to capture the attention of the relevant audiences.
Daniel Rimoli, Head of Edelman Digital – Brazil, Edelman Significa
This case study was originally published in the 2015 Global Edition of Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM), co-edited by Justin Kirby and Greta MacFarlane.