The All Access Pass

An interesting story on Marketplace this evening suggested that social media is responsible for increased viewership of traditional media, particularly around large live events. The Super Bowl and Grammys attained their highest-ever viewership this year. We will likely see this again at the Oscars: over 10,000 folks have purchased one of the Oscars-related applications they mentioned.

Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter make it possible for folks to watch a show “together”, even if they aren’t in the same room.  Televised events have become a new sort of  “spectator sport”, with social  media providing a way to experience an event as part of a group, talk about it in real time, even when not there in person. Of course, it’s not quite the same as being there in person – there’s no sense of the “roar of the crowd”  – but it can be a meaningful experience (and in some cases it might be better: you can be warm, dry and in a comfortable chair instead of sitting in the rain on cold bleachers).

Google’s Art Project is another example of how technology is broadening the opportunity for access and participation. When I’m in a gallery, I love to stand back and see the entire painting, then move closer to see the brush strokes, the depth of the paint on the canvas, the techniques the artist used. While that’s not possible on the Google site, the experience of the art is a different one. The level of detail is astounding: the project includes 16 images over one gigapixel in size – that’s over 1 billion pixels! And it’s pretty unlikely that I would ever have the opportunity to visit all the museums that are represented in this project, so the project gives me access that was previously unavailable.

The challenge for brand marketers: How can your brand use ideas like these to expand the reach of your events? How can you delight your customers by giving them access they couldn’t get otherwise? How can you deepen the relationship by providing something no other brand can give?

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