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BRIT Awards

How BRIT Awards are leveraging event insights for future planning and resourcing

BRIT Awards

The BRIT Awards with Mastercard are the biggest night in music in the UK, with music stars from across the world descending on London to walk the carpet, perform, and pick up awards. The show is live on ITV in the UK and globally on YouTube, and watched by millions.

We spoke with Toby Leveson, Senior Digital Content Manager for the BRIT Awards. In his role, he is responsible for outputs across the entirety of the events’ social and digital channels for the whole campaign.

In this case study, we’ll look at how The BRITs used Brandwatch Consumer Research platform to:

  • Streamline access to data for quicker reaction time to key trends and audience sentiment.
  • Monitor nomination announcements and real-time reactions to performances on the night of the show.
  • Leverage event insights to forecast for future show planning and better resourcing internally.

Before Brandwatch: Clunky processes 

The team at the BRIT Awards came to Brandwatch looking for a better way to manage, analyse and act on data coming from their social channels. According to Toby, his team was looking to overcome a lack of insight into the vast amount of data.

In-house, the BRIT Awards team couldn't dig as deep into the numbers as they would have liked to really get to know their audience. Prior to using the Brandwatch suite, Toby would have to manually commission a report to:

  • Identify the key moments of the show
  • Look at reactions during the broadcast window
  • Filter details on demographics

The social listening tools within Brandwatch enabled them to do just that, making the process much easier. Toby could dig wider and deeper into the metrics around social engagement and then inform strategy and plans going forward. Fewer steps meant more freed up time to generate the actions that really matter like drawing insights from the data.

“Through Brandwatch, we were able to identify which years we had success in terms of engaging the public, and what caused it”
— Toby Leveson, Senior Digital Content Manager at the BRIT Awards

“Being a live show, there are always moments out of everyone’s control, no matter how many times things are rehearsed, and we are able to see which moments are most talked about. This includes performances, and winning moments.” explains Toby.

For example, Toby was able to look at the most talked about performances from previous years, which helped inform their digital marketing strategy when planning for future award shows. When Toby knew a certain performance or artist resonates with the audience through the data identified in Brandwatch, then he was able to channel resources into repurposing that content for a social audience.

It was also important for the BRIT Awards team to have social listening and social media planning all in one place. Particularly when it came to monitoring their own content through the labelling system or getting content designed, approved, planned and posted.

“The Social Media Management tool has been a lifesaver. What was a very manual and arduous task is now really simple, and we’re able to judge the success of our own content really easily.”
— Toby Leveson, Senior Digital Content Manager at the BRIT Awards

Brandwatch enabled the BRIT Awards’ team to have dashboards on all elements of all of their campaigns dating back over ten years while monitoring their own content in a much more streamlined manner.

Brandwatch in action: The BRIT Awards cycle

The BRIT Awards is the biggest night for music in the UK, and social listening helps Toby understand what the public and viewers are talking about on the night. Having data from viewers across the world helps the team develop their marketing campaigns on a global level. With Brandwatch, Toby’s team is able to: 

  • Measure emotion and satisfaction to show the value to partners and their association with the BRIT Awards brand
  • Understand what people like and dislike about the show informing future events and planning
  • Break down the data into categories to gain strong insights on whatever the team wants to look at; be it performers, nominees, or partners themselves.

Here is what that process looks like throughout the lead-up to the show, the night of the BRIT Awards, and post-event review for next year’s event planning.

Outcome #1: Pre-event benchmarking & planning

The nominations announcements

The nominations are the first point where the wider public get really engaged and excited for the BRIT Awards. Toby and his team use Brandwatch to monitor the reaction online, and see what the key conversation points are across the nominations as a whole, as well as across the artists; which artists and their fan bases are engaging most with the nominations, for example.

Using a query that captures all of the data that the BRIT Awards’ team would need, Toby then uses various dashboards and categories to identify the conversation online. The success of the Awards each year, in terms of online engagements, TV viewing figures etc., often revolves around the artists who are involved in the campaign; either by being nominated for an Award, or performing during the show itself.

Nominations is the first time in the team’s campaign that these artists will engage with BRITs, and the first time the public will know of their involvement in the Awards, so Toby uses the dashboards to judge the popularity of artists.

“This can help inform the marketing campaigns, if we know an artist has a big fan base that is being mobilised through their involvement in the BRITs, we can help tap into that and further promote the show,” says Toby.

The Brandwatch platform also helped Toby set benchmarks for performance based on past data sets. Brandwatch’s dashboards provided The BRIT Awards team with a view of all elements of all campaigns dating back over ten years.

Outcome #2: Real-time audience sentiment

The night of the awards

Toby is keen to answer a handful of questions and report to stakeholders after the Awards:

  • Is this year’s campaign larger than the year before?
  • Did we generate more conversation?
  • How did we perform online compared to the year before?

These questions could be judged through various metrics with TV viewing figures being the most traditional way. But being an annual awards show that has created historic moments (good and bad) throughout the years, what Toby and his team really look to find out is: Did this year’s show have a cultural impact? Has it created any memorable moments? And they use social listening to help answer those questions.

The team uses minute-by-minute analysis to track conversation around the BRITs during the broadcast window, where the main reaction to the event happens. This helps Toby find out what the most talked about moments were and helps to plot what the team can and should be talking about post-show.

“We also use social listening to judge satisfaction rates for not only the show in general, but for performers and for artists winning awards,” explains Toby. “What was the overriding emotion for Little Simz when she won Best New Artist in 2022 for example? Tracking satisfaction is also an invaluable tool for tracking our relationships with our partners.”

It can also be incredibly useful to know where the reaction is coming from. Despite being a UK-based awards show broadcast on ITV, The BRIT Awards stream to a global audience on YouTube. Knowing which territories are watching and engaging with the show and social channels, is really helpful, particularly when teaming up with global partners and plotting marketing campaigns, especially on platforms like YouTube. 

Outcome #3: Integration and planning for next year

The post-event takeaways

All of the team’s work across the BRIT Awards is benchmarked against previous years.Generally, the team looks at reach and impressions as key barometers of how well the show as a whole, or individual elements to it, have performed. Then, Toby can see what is driving conversations, and in what parts of the world.

They are able to feedback all of the data and numbers to the wider team, so it can be considered in planning for future shows. Satisfaction levels are an important component to this, but as always with a live show, things happen that can’t be planned for (which often informs the subsequent reaction) so the team does have to take things within the context of the event.

For Toby, success is being able to walk away from a campaign and fully understand the impact that it had on the public at the time. The BRIT Awards operate in a space full of big television moments, and there is only one chance a year to get things right, so it’s super important going into the awards show knowing that the lineup and the nominees are engaging to the wider public.

Brandwatch enables the team to be confident in that knowledge. By pulling the right social data, Toby can make information-driven decisions, and further integrations with social networking platforms ensure that Toby and the team are able to keep doing this sort of research, especially to make sure that they’re engaging with younger audiences.

“The Brandwatch suite has given us a clear idea of where we are at; which campaigns were more successful than others, and what moments within those campaigns resonated with our audiences."
— Toby Leveson, Senior Digital Content Manager at the BRIT Awards

This helped The BRITs team to better plan going forward our marketing campaigns around the show, and we’re better able to anticipate what the key moments may be based on past results, enabling us to put more time and resources into those areas.

At the end of the day, Brandwatch enables Toby to make more informed decisions based on data that goes back 10+ years on all of their campaigns.

“That’s the biggest long-term impact of using the platform,” explains Toby. “Even delving into the data to find out more about those talking about and interacting with our partners. Again, this is hugely valuable data for us to help deliver on partner objectives and accurately value our relationships, so this is definitely key in our future plans using Brandwatch.”

"This is hugely valuable data for us to deliver on partner objectives and accurately value our relationships, so this is definitely key in our future plans using Brandwatch.”
— Toby Leveson, Senior Digital Content Manager at the BRIT Awards

But the benefits extend beyond better proof for partners.

For the team at the BRIT Awards, Brandwatch’s suite of social tools helped ensure they could: 

  • Streamline processes for gathering social listening data, managing social content and taking action on insights
  • Capture audience sentiment during the event on a minute by minute basis to understand which moments the audience are talking about the most, and how
  • Surface relevant data in order to show partners the value of working with The BRIT Awards
  • Provide event insights that can help inform what will work for future events

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