Reaching the fan: Tour de France


With the rapid rise of social media in an ever-increasing digital world reaching the consumer has become both easier but also more challenging than ever before. People are bombarded by information on so many different platforms that our attention span has decreased dramatically. It is now difficult for us to watch a 5-min video without grabbing your phone and looking at it. For any brand to resonate with consumers they need to use an integrated marketing communication strategy across varies platforms to get their brand message across. By using a well thought out strategy brands can utilize different platforms by engaging with the user in a native way. A brand that is doing this very successfully is the Tour de France.

The Tour de France is the world’s biggest cycling race. For three weeks in the month of July the brand has the attention of billions of people across the world. They need to capitalize during this time to create the most value for their sponsors and stakeholders by showcasing the event, racing and regions of France. The race needs to keep its place as the pinnacle of the sport of cycling while competing against other global sporting events happening at the same time, Wimbledon, British Open, F1. In order for them to be effective in they ensure they keep their messaging aligned although they are using a variety of platforms.

Television and broadcast has always been the traditional way that most people would engage with the event. The race gets broadcast in 188 countries with an estimated 3.5 Billion people watching it on television. In today’s fast paced society only the die-hard fan has the time and patience to sit through a 5 hour broadcast. For those that has never watched bike racing the action does come in waves. Usually the last km’s of each day is very exiting but the rest can be well “boring”. To keep the viewers entertained the organizers use the opportunity to mix the racing with information of the regions the race passes as well as educating the viewer on how the race works. Effectively advertising the country of France as a tourist destination.

In order to reach a broader audience the event uses its different social media platforms.

On YouTube the information is condensed into digestible chunks. They understand the viewer on this platform is looking for information. A quick 2 min summary of the day gives the viewers a wrap of what happened in terms of the racing. They also add other products to the channel to further engage with the audience. Landscapes of the day shows off the best of the region. Meeting its objective to increase tourism in France.  A GoPro edit gives the viewer a different perspective on the race, these point of vision edits takes the viewer on an emotional whirlwind journey of how the rider feels while competing. This style is a natural fit for this platform and ensures that the brand resonates with an adrenaline seeking audience.

If we move our attention to Twitter we can see how the brand uses this platform to convey information. It is the fastest form of engagement with their fans. Live updates on the race are constantly posted during the time the race is taking place. After results are sent out in few lines of text. This enables fans to quickly and conveniently access information. Again, the brand understands the nature of the platform and takes advantage thereof. The content feels native to the platform. It targets its effort on this platform to provide enough information to inform the user but not bore them.

Looking at Instagram and Facebook we find a different approach to the other platforms but the result is the same to increase the awareness and engagement with its audience.  Resulting in and increase in value of the event. As expected because of the visual nature of Instagram we see they use only the best images of the day and the ones they know would capture the attention of the viewer.

On Facebook besides sharing updates and images they try to get conversations going often posting more controversial talking points that trigger emotional responses from its audience. And due to the nature of the platform result in shares and likes.

Strava is another interesting platform that is indirectly used to showcase the event. Strava is the “Facebook” of cycling where riders taking part in the race publish their riding stats. By doing this cycling enthusiasts who follow the professional riders can get a sense of what the riders are dealing with. These awe-inspiring stats get shared by the audience which again results in increased awareness of the nature of the event.

These are only a few areas where we can see how a traditional brand is leveraging different media platforms in a strategic manner to enhance the brand perception across a wider audience. The brand understands how to connect on the different platforms by speaking in the “native” language.  An integrated plan across the different channels ensures that they are all aligned and work together to achieve success.