When COVID-19 restricted in-person events, longtime G&S client Syngenta had to shift gears and highlight their new turf industry products and services virtually during the 2021 Golf Industry Show. Syngenta challenged G&S to create a digital experience that provided a similar level of personalized interaction customers were accustomed to during face-to-face events.
G&S built an immersive digital experience featuring an interactive video that allowed client storytelling opportunities and user customization. Additionally, the team developed a fully integrated communications campaign to drive traffic to the video.
Read more about the award-winning campaign from the project leads, Lyndsey Newnam, Vice President of Client Services, and Alison DeBenedictis, Vice President of Creative.
How did interactive video become the catalyst for helping Syngenta boost its customer engagement?
LN: Interactive video technology was really a perfect solution to the challenges we were facing with the unprecedented shift to virtual events. It allowed us to provide a customized experience with which viewers could engage. By providing links to additional content and a contact form, we were able to create a deeper customer journey and lead generation for our client.
AD: We know this audience of golf course superintendents likes to have solutions-oriented experiences, and by creating an interactive video we put them in the driver’s seat to choose which content they consumed.
How was this custom experience developed?
AD: We began at the end really, identifying where we wanted the user to end up: learning about our client’s products and benefits. We created a decision tree with numerous paths to get to that content, conjuring up the joy of the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” book series of our youth. With the storyline set, we began video production.
We hired David Eger, former PGA Tour and USGA Rules Official and Champions Tour player, as the video guide and narrator. Having someone recognizable from the golf industry, who understood the challenges golf course superintendents face, gave credibility to the piece. We filmed at a well-known championship course in North Carolina and our videographers, Mark Zhu and Patrick Priest, employed cinematography techniques that gave the illusion of zooming around the course to lean into our show theme of “perspectives in motion.”
Associate Creative Director Travis Nottingham oversaw post-production and led the video’s interactive elements. We used several creative features to build an immersive, decision-led experience including animated hotspots, video pop-ups, and an in-video lead generation form. We found that users watched the video multiple times, restarting to select a different path each time. In total, 92% of viewers interacted with at least one hotspot and the video generated 4,481 total hotspot interactions. The average time spent viewing the video was 4:39, which is very impressive nowadays.
Why was it critical to employ numerous communication mediums to amplify the experience?
LN: We knew the virtual event format meant we would have to fight for engagement in a sea of similar companies, so we had to use every available tactic – print and digital advertising, media relations, paid and organic social media, email, web banners and more – to drive traffic to the experience. But putting the virtual event aside, with the number of ways people can consume content today, a brand really has to be discoverable everywhere with integrated, complementary messages and CTAs. Companies that have separate teams, departments or agencies executing various tactics without working collaboratively are going to miss opportunities – it would be like trying to walk if your left foot and right foot were going in different directions.
The success of this campaign and video was literally off the charts and it won several awards. What about this project are you most proud of?
AD: I’m so proud that we were able to create a full campaign driving to a video that our audience wanted to watch, wanted to interact with, and then watch repeatedly. We developed something truly unique that made Syngenta stand apart in a cluttered, virtual world.
LN: We really embraced the challenge, and the results blew away all expectations. It even surpassed measurable engagements from previous face-to-face events, setting a new standard of success for our team and client. The potential for success with a virtual event seemed dismal in the beginning, but I’m so proud of how it turned out and how it’s been recognized as the winner of several national industry awards. These include the Turf & Ornamentals Communicators Association Gardner Award (Best In Show) for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign and First Place for Special Event; PR Daily Social Media & Digital Award for Best Video; and the PRSA Bronze Anvil – Award of Commendation for Best Use of Video.