Microsoft Teams for today, Teams for tomorrow, Teams for all – Case Study 2021

Shortlisted 2021

Technology and Telecoms

Brand

Microsoft

Entered by:

Carat

Microsoft Teams for today, Teams for tomorrow, Teams for all

The Challenge

At the start of the initial Microsoft Teams campaign launch in January 2020, our goal was to increase familiarity against our information workers audience. Whilst Microsoft Teams was available and in-market prior to launch, average daily usage and general familiarity of the app was relatively low. After two months in market, the COVID-19 virus hit the US, and we were forced to take a step back, reassess our approach, and adapt our campaign to meet the changing times. While the crisis made Teams more relevant to the information workers audience given the fundamental shift to Work From Home (WFH), we were still tasked with proving use cases and educating information workers on the benefits of Teams. This new climate provided us an opportunity to showcase the benefits of Microsoft Teams as an efficient tool for information workers to increase productivity and achieve their best work. As the crisis wore on, we continued to push agility in the US and across 14 global markets to ensure we were reaching our audiences with the right local messaging, further solidifying the use case and reliability of Microsoft Teams for the future of work. Prior to the campaign start, competitive presence was at a minimum, with Slack and Zoom having little presence in the marketplace. At the onset of our media activity, Teams campaign recognition was at about 26% with our information workers target audience, and 50% of them were familiar with Teams as a productivity tool. (more details in results section)

The Creative Solution

We worked closely with our clients and m:United to ensure our creative approach evolved as the marketplace and our campaign did throughout the year. Prior to the start of COVID-19, our creative was an overarching message that showcased the general benefits of a productivity and collaboration tool like Teams. Once the pandemic hit, we needed to revisit our approach, now that information workers were made aware of the need for a product like Teams as they shifted to remote work. The messaging shifted to showcase real life use cases of Microsoft Teams, focused on customer stories from essential workers, like St. Luke’s Hospital Network and the London Metropolitan Police Department. These stories outlined how Teams specifically allowed each organization to continue to do the work they needed to throughout an uncertain time. As our campaign went on and we approached the Fall of 2020, we needed to make sure we were continuing to drive not only awareness of the brand but also engagement to keep Teams top of mind. One of the biggest passion points of our information workers audience is sports, and more specifically NFL. Through a partnership with NBC, we worked to create custom content that tangibly showed how Teams helped prepare NBC and the NFL for their broadcasts each week. Fans enthusiastically engaged with the content, which gave a peek behind the scenes with their favorite broadcast personalities and players.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Our strategy was two-fold. First, educate information workers on the collaborative benefits of Teams, and then set them up for success in advocating for it in their workplace. Our strategy was based on three key pillars. 1. Build a foundational layer of the campaign that leveraged primarily upper funnel media tactics – such as TV and targeted digital, social, and audio – to prime our target audience on the benefits and use cases of Teams. 2. Strategically align Teams messaging with relevant business and productivity content, specifically content guiding information workers through their new WFH lifestyle, to position Teams as the premiere collaboration tool available. 3. Leverage the skyrocketing consumer need for collaboration solutions to competitively overtake users of other platforms and position Teams as the primary player in the space. By positioning Teams as a productivity and collaboration solution, we were able to reach our audience in all types of high consumption environments appealing to their interests and habits in an organic way. Through multiple rounds of audience research, we identified their four main passion points: Business & Career Content, Sports, Entertainment, and Technology. By aligning our Teams messaging with targeted media executions across TV, digital, and social platforms globally, we were able to organically connect with them as they went about their day on their own terms. We originally planned our campaign in four markets (US, UK, France and Germany), but realizing the growing impact of COVID-19, we worked with Microsoft to expand our messaging to additional areas hit hard by the pandemic, including China, Italy, Japan and Spain. We utilised a combination of reach drivers and niche targeted media to ensure Teams remained top of mind in high-indexing areas where our audience were already engaged and open to our messaging. We kicked off our campaign with a focus on remote working and carefully tailored our selection of partners to ensure our messaging was in the right place as we progressed towards a more hybrid working world. Our US-based St. Luke’s creative highlighted how doctors use Teams and was key in delivering that relevant creative messaging to the information workers audience. A media partnership with the NFL brought Teams to life around the biggest sports league in the US, as we worked with talent to organically demonstrate relevant use-cases.

The Result

Familiarity is our primary KPI, and we have seen steady growth from the start of our campaign with familiarity now reaching 60% among information workers, a 10% growth from the campaign baseline. The success of our campaign has been proven through consistent growth across our the KPIs. From our most recent client performance readout in March 2021, aided awareness of Teams reached 94% among information workers, with 55% of our target audience saying they “know Teams well.” In terms of business outcome, usage intent has reached 50% among information workers, which is up from 28% the previous year. As of February 2021, total Teams campaign recognition is at 66%, up from 26% the prior year (pre COVID-19). The consistent growth in all our KPIs further proves the success of our campaign strategy to familiarize our entire information workers audience with the app and position Teams as a leader in the space.