What makes a moment ? Behind the scenes with Marketing at Microsoft Australia

My name is Nicole Robinson  and I am the Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft Office in the consumer segment.

When I started my role almost 3 years ago, I never imagined that I’d launch a marketing campaign about flavoured bubbles to sell Microsoft Office. Or that we’d actually create the flavoured bubbles. And a real-life working bubble machine (that resembled something out of a Willy Wonka story). Or that we’d let an 8-year-old school girl call the shots!

But that’s what we’ve recently done with our newest Office 365 consumer campaign, “Flubbles”.

I guess the big question is why? And how did it all come about?

My objectives for this year were no different to other years; continue to drive product awareness and understanding of Office 365, and drive usage of the service so that the full benefits are being realised by our customers, and they continue to use, and love, our product.

Interestingly, these were the same objectives that my colleagues who look after SMB and Education also had. So this led us to the question - would it be possible to create one creative platform that would support all audience segments, and aim to drive awareness, understanding and usage? As a team of product marketers, working closely with our marketing communications team and agency partners, we set out to do just this!

To date, our approach has been largely grounded in product features and benefits.

We decided to try something new and take the story-telling approach. Stories that connected with people. And stories that anchored back to our brand vision. (And not necessarily just rattling off all the different product features and benefits of Office 365).

So what story to tell?

At its heart, the Office brand is about helping people achieve more every day, whether it’s a big achievement like building a new house or starting a new business, or something a little bit smaller like planning a holiday or getting your kids’ homework done.

About 5-6 months ago, when we started planning for all of this, we had our agency partners undertake some consumer research which brought out some really interesting insights that formed the backbone of our campaign creative platform. What they found was:

  1. Often people lose sight of what they’re working towards in life. They get so caught up in the process that they forget what they are doing it all for. They end up on a never-ending treadmill of making “things”…documents, spreadsheets, presentations…for what?
  2. These “things” get in the way of what really matters. To turn a piece of inspiration into reality…to one day not have to work for anyone but yourself…to just get home on time and read your child a bedtime story.
  3. That the things that really matter the most to people exist in “moments”.

This led us to landing on our new creative platform “Moments made with Office 365”. Moments that our audience can relate to. Moments that our audiences can be inspired by. Moments about people. With each moment tying seamlessly to product benefits. Office 365 is a life-solution; let’s show our audience how it impacts on real lives.

At the core of our campaign is that Office 365 doesn’t exist without the moment, and the moment doesn’t exist without Office 365.

What makes a moment?

Branded storytelling is about being relevant, whilst also allowing the story to breathe without being too constrained by the brand (aka don’t overwhelm the audience with lots of different product features. The value prop of the product will shine through inherently through the story you tell).

Our creative approach

At launch, we wanted to tell an amazing story of achievement from a group of amazing people and allow audiences to share in the joy of their creation. Ultimately, Office 365 frees us to make amazing things possible.

To put this to the test, we took the biggest ideas from some of the smallest people on the planet – children. Little people who don’t know how to limit their imagination and are not stifled by practicality, logistics or the laws of physics. We wanted to take their ideas and use the collaborative power of Office 365 to help bring them to life.

Which is why we decided to collaborate with Julia – an 8-year-old girl who helped bring the idea of flavoured bubbles, “Flubbles”, to life. We helped Julia collaborate with bubbleologist, Dr Froth (yes, they exist), create new flavours with cake maker, Nikki, and design an amazing flubble machine with Missy.

We told Julia’s story through a series of videos, amplified through media across digital (search, social, digital ads), out-of-home and in retail. We bought the search term “Flubbles” and directed audiences to our content hub that showcased the videos, behind the scenes footage and more in depth product info.

We also showcased other moments that can be made with Office 365 on the content hub. These other moments are aimed to give inspiration and tips and tricks to people on how Office 365 can be used in everyday tasks like planning for Christmas, getting in shape for summer, and even growing your Movember Mo J (all with the aim of driving up usage of Office 365).

Flubbles is still in market, and new moments will be introduced via story-telling throughout the year.

I hope you enjoy watching the story as much as myself and the rest of the team enjoyed making it!

 What have I learnt so far?

To be brave. To take the story-telling approach. To put people at the heart of the story. By connecting with people, you allow the impact of the product to shine through and the difference it makes to people.

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