We’ve got thoughts
The Road to the Fightin' Four
// Stephen Shaffer - March 28, 2016

Getting the Most Out of KCSourceLink’s Battle of the Brands

We’re all used to obsessing over brackets in March, but this year we at Pinsight have been focusing on a different kind of bracket (yes, we’ve been watching basketball too). Local entrepreneurial proponent KCSourceLink hosted their annual Battle of the Brands, pitting 64 of KC’s leading brands against one another to find out who Kansas Citians truly think is the city’s best and brightest. And this year, Pinsight Media suited up and entered the bracket in the innovation-led category.

We are huge supporters of the Kansas City startup community, so when the opportunity arose to participate it was a no-brainer. We have a lot of passion for entrepreneurship and are huge supporters of startup resources like KCSourceLink and the Sprint Accelerator. But it would be a daunting challenge! Could our team of Pinsight marketers - all new to Pinsight in the past year - pull off a Cinderella story, playing the social media game while staying true to brand and keeping our day-to-day operations moving at full speed?

We started with the important questions: what do we ultimately want to get out of the battle? What’s the story we tell? It was crucial for us that our battle strategy tied back into our overall goals. Pinsight is a pretty unique company, truly on the cutting edge of adtech innovation. With an employee count of just over 100, we’re a mid-sized KC startup with global ambitions - part of our mission is to be the world leader in mobile data monetization. We want Kansas City - and abroad - to be in tune with what we do. Battle of the Brands was a way for us to spread the word; let the community know what we do and how we can help. Telling our story in this way is also very important to our recruiting efforts, as we continue to seek bright, motivated innovators to join our team.

Exposure and brand awareness are obvious biggies, but what specific goals tie back to our battle efforts? Firing up an Instagram presence had been on our ‘to do’ list for some time. What better way to generate a following and produce meaningful content than for a locally-based audience? Our Twitter and Facebook social game tightened as well. Finding our online voice has been an evolving process and the battle let us scrimmage in a lot of different areas.

Our day-to-day at Pinsight is all about data-driven results, and our social content is no different. What posts had the best engagement? What was helping our reach extend beyond our follower base? We defined metrics and used them to identify where to focus our efforts. We identified key social influencers, integrated relevant hashtags, engaged with brands & friendlies.

By the final few rounds, our social focus was top-notch, increasing not only our reach but efficiency.

With each passing round more and more people got caught up in the battle madness. Office camaraderie was on the rise, and as the battle became more fierce, we were finding new and innovative ways to find votes. We quite enjoyed interacting with our competition, perhaps even a bit too much at times. “Have you talked to your mom lately? Call your grandparents and ask them to vote!” Pinsighters were reaching out to their kids’ Scout troop parents and sports leagues to get votes. With each new person we told, it became an opportunity to practice our elevator pitch. All Pinsighters got better at talking about who we are and what we do.

We were surprised to find synergies in allies we didn’t know we had. The community rallied to support us as we reached out to innovators, entrepreneurs, and others in advertising and technology. It created a fun way to remind our audience that we’re located in Kansas City, Missouri, we’re plugged in at a global level, and we’re dealing in very innovative ways of using data. We also realized grassroots efforts are still a thing! Some of our most effective efforts came from visiting local businesses downtown and in the Crossroads district, spreading the gospel of #KCBattle2016 and asking for their vote.

Battle of the Brands ended up being a lot more work than any of us ever anticipated, but it was well worth the investment. Championing the innovation-led category was a huge win for us. Still, we realized early that by just participating in the battle, you win, regardless of how far you get in the voting. The benefits are communal and endless. We were fortunate enough to battle, discover, and interact with some great KC brands. We owe them all a debt of gratitude for being part of a mutually beneficial experience.

3/31/2016 UPDATE:

And then - we won the battle!  Thank you to everyone, far and wide, who voted for us. Would we do it again? You bet. In fact, our championship-round opponent, Joe's KC - our personal favorite - is continuing in two other battle brackets for "best bbq" titles. Clearly, they also see the benefit in continuing to battle, whether at a local or national level. KCSourceLink, the host of the battle, also reaped PR benefits by being the presenting sponsor. You don't have to battle yourself, you can host a battle to gain brand recognition.

While we may have won Kansas City, we continue on our mission to be the world leader in unlocking the value of network data. Contact us today to start a conversation and learn more about how we make data matter with our advertising, distribution, intelligence, and analytics capabilities.

Battle of the Brands Champino