Brand immersion days are organized events where a company invites a group of their social media influencers to gather together and become true experts of the brand.
“It's every bit as intense as planning a wedding,” laughed Jorie.
She and her social media team hosted the company's first-ever brand immersion day in October of 2016. She explained since the content results reverberated throughout the year and beyond, the team knew they should produce more of these events. In the midst of planning their second immersion day, Jorie shared what they learned and advice on how to plan a similar event.
Jorie and her team arranged for sixteen of their top-tier influencers to visit the company's corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. On the menu for the event: a shopping trip to Kroger's “showpiece” stores, prepping a holiday-themed meal at a local culinary institute, an honorary dinner with key executives, a few quick product presentations, and lots of time to network.
It makes your social media team very visible within the company, and it allows executives who maybe don't completely understand social media to spend significant time with the influencers.
Planning for the October event began the previous July. It's key to start with what your objectives are.
Jorie explains, “Do you want the influencers just to show up and be inspired? Do you want them to create an entire year's worth of content from your one day? Do you want to foster a sense of community amongst the group? Figure that all out in advance, and then you get to move onto the fun things like travel and coordinating with stakeholders internally.”
“Make sure the internal stakeholders clearly understand how you'll be dividing up the day,” advised Jorie. Their immersion day schedule was evenly distributed between digital innovation and culinary innovation. They wanted to equal parts highlight what's new using kroger.com and their app, but also wanted to highlight products that can be found on store shelves explained Jorie.
She wanted everyone involved to know those priorities were being shared evenly. She cautioned that, “If it weren't for that, I think there could have been internal conflict over the events of the day.”
“Now that I am planning one out again, I'm going into it with clear communications around what the day will involve,” said Jorie.
After the success of their first brand immersion day, other departments have approached her team wanting their special projects featured at the next event. Jorie explains that they have had to turn down a lot of these requests because of budget and bandwidth. She says while it's exciting that so many others are excited and see the value of these types of events, her team stays focused on Kroger’s top marketing objectives and anchoring them back into the greater company priorities.
“It's fun, and I don't want that part to get lost,” emphasizes Jorie. “It makes your social media team very visible within the company, and it allows executives who maybe don't completely understand social media to spend significant time with the influencers.” Internally, it has created a better understanding of her team and why what they do is so important and how it contributes to the goals of the company.
Connect with Jorie on LinkedIn. Jorie has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2015, and Kroger has been participating in our community since 2014.