Julie Milbrand

“Why soccer?”

When you put yourself in the middle of a big conversation, brands have to be cautious.

“I get this question a lot,” says Julie Milbrand in her Member Meeting case study presentation about Wells Fargo’s real-time marketing campaign for the World Cup.

As a sponsor of the Mexican Football Federation, or FMF, and Major League Soccer, Wells Fargo had the opportunity to reach 90 million active fans in the United States. Plus, Julie explains, it’s not only the number-one sport for families, youths, and Hispanics, but it’s also not a crowded market for sponsorships.

From a social standpoint, last year’s World Cup also set records as one of the most talked about sporting events ever.

To deploy a real-time marketing campaign to meet this magnitude, Julie says they did three things:

1. Deploy social listening through Wells Fargo’s platforms:

“We really needed to understand exactly what was going on before, during, and after every single game.”

So Julie’s team of 24 took over their Social Media Command Center to watch a live TV feed of the game, conversations about it in social media, and trending hashtags. They also monitored for sentiment and Wells Fargo’s share of voice.

2. Host local events:

Wells Fargo set up mobile big-screen TVs for watching parties in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston. They also had brand ambassadors on the ground encouraging people at the parties to include #gettingitdone in their tweets and collecting fan photos for the team back at the Command Center.

3. Create real-time marketing:

That includes real-time tweets and Facebook posts to respond to fans and trends as well as pre-designed and approved templates to celebrate the players. “But,” Julie says, “as everyone knows, real-time is not really real time.”

“It took a village and a lot of planning to do real-time marketing.”

To organize that team of 24 posted up in the Social Media Command Center, Julie created this diagram outlining each agency’s responsibility and where it fit into the real-time marketing workflow:

Real-time social marketing

And since Julie’s team is no stranger to restrictions and regulations, they also took special care to create pre-designed and approved content, like action shots of each FMF player from past matches with their brand messaging and logo. As those players did well in a match, the real-time marketing team posted the pre-approved content.

“That earned us tweets like ‘My bank knows wassup.’ We don’t get tweets like that very often,” Julie laughs.

Even better, three of these pre-approved tweets also became Wells Fargo’s most engaging since they launched their Twitter presence in 2007 and had their lowest cost per engagement of any amplification they’ve ever done.

“When you put yourself in the middle of a big conversation, brands have to be cautious,” Julie says.

As everyone knows, real-time is not really real time.

“If you’re going to intervene, you have to add value and make sure it’s appropriate for what’s going on.”

For example, Julie explains, “It’s not appropriate for us to talk about our ATMs during a match.” Instead, they shared infographics on the game’s stats, historical facts, and the “Tweet of the Match.”

“If you’re inappropriate or interrupting the conversation, you’re really going to hurt yourself.”

Watch her full presentation here. Julie’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2013. Follow her on Twitter and ask about her favorite thing to do in San Francisco.


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