Medibank real-time publishing pushes into event sponsorship

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 23 October 2014

Medibank is ramping up its branded content division and further integrating it into event sponsorship. But while branded content might have the industry in a twist, Medibank content marketing manager William Falkingham said the insurer has played in the space for years, and that content is just part of a “continual evolution” of how brands go to market.

Speaking to AdNews, Falkingham said over the past few years brands have been trying to build audience through social and mobile channels and that content is an evolved focal point of that build.

For Medibank, this has meant ramping up its branded content division. Falkingham said while he runs a small team of five in a wider organisation of 3000 people, the budgets within the team are starting to “double and triple in that space” but only because it is generating a return by marketing through digital and social channels.

“Our content and social team has been building over the last two years we’ve been continuing to build on it to be able to publish content. There is a focus for us across all activities not just supporting our sponsorship activites but supporting all of our activities within the marketing advertising group,” Falkingham said.

Medibank’s latest campaign, an online content series called The First Time, was designed to use its publishing capabilities to build on its sponsorship of the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival. Medibank’s branded publication be. Magazine, which was started in 2012, followed four marathon “first timers” in the month lead-up to the event. The half-marathon itself was then covered in real-time with short films of the race released just hours after the event.

While the insurer used social and branded content to cover last year’s Marathon, Falkingham said it was “more of a disjointed effort.” He said the team learnt from previous experience that there was a lot of interest in the event itself and the lead up, which is why the push into real-time publishing was so important.

“The event happened so quickly, you want to share it quickly. We know from last year if it takes us a week or two weeks to get our content out there the moment has passed a little bit,” Falkingham said.

Falkingham said content around sponsorship is something Medibank is evolving from a partnership point of view. He said the insurer was replicating the First Time strategy in its sponsorship of the Australian Open, creating a tournament for tennis newbies with the winner scoring a round of tennis at the Open.

“Five years ago you’d sign an agreement and you wouldn’t even talk about social media or content production and all those sorts of things didn’t exist. It's an evolution of how we work with our partners now, that we’re a content provider as well,” Falkingham said.

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