Live 8, the “20 years later” version of the original Live Aid concerts in 1985, is set for this Saturday, July 2. I have four tickets and I am looking forward to the Barrie (Toronto) event. I know that the aim of this event is to focus awareness, and action, on global poverty and the upcoming G8 Summit in Scotland. Make Poverty History – do you remember seeing any of those TV commercials with actors and musicians snapping their fingers to signify how often somoeone in tne world dies due to poverty? – is getting lots of attention and co-branding with the Canadian event. Lots of companies are supporting Live 8 but why aren’t more of them using this as a better marketing tool…or to capture permission?
I guess the fact that the event came about relatively quickly has meant a lot of companies haven’t been able to react quickly enough. In the UK a number of companies were involved in the distribution of free tickets using text messaging. Others had Live 8 landing pages and microsites set up within days. Media companies who will be broadcasting the event live also managed to quickly get people signed up for Live 8 alerts (like when a new performer or band was announced).
I haven’t seen much of this in Canada.
I know a lot of leading companies and brands have set up “secret” crisis sites that are ready to be launched at a moments notice should something disastrous happen to their brand. Likewise, I am sure Coke is ready to defend anything new that Pepsi might be launching with their marketing…and vise versa.
So why aren’t companies better prepared for positive opportunities like Live 8?
I personally believe every company should have a plan of action in place for marketing and branding opportunities that may arise suddenly. It can be as simple as a splash site to highlight their participation in an event or cause like Live 8. Or it could be a way to communciate thoughts and actions being taken with reference to a disaster like the Asian tsunami.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about trying to capitalize on the misfortune of others, but it does present an opportunity to provide loyal brand followers and others to get information from you and be directed to other sources of relevant information…especially how you can help.
I think a number of Canadian companies have missed the boat with Live 8. What are you doing to ensure you don’t miss the boat next time it leaves the pier?