CNBC, Atomized Studios
World Entrepreneur Of The Year™
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (EOY) programme was established more than 30 years ago and today operates in 65 countries and territories and 145 cities around the world.
Local country and territory EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners compete in Monaco each year for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (WEOY).
When the pandemic struck and made the 3-day Monaco event untenable, we had to pivot from a physical event to a digital experience. The pandemic had presented the chance to self-disrupt, which EY seized. With continued uncertainty in 2021 we decided to build on the success we had seen with the digital awards show the previous year. The key challenge remained; How would a virtual award ceremony ever replace the experiential quality of a visit to one of the most glamorous locations in Europe, with 800 of the world’s most exceptional entrepreneurs?
At the face-to face event, people could mingle and learn about the winning candidates. We needed a creative media solution that created a ‘real’ connection with the finalists.
The overarching objective of the campaign was to drive continued awareness of EY’s brand leadership in Entrepreneurship among CEOs, owners, founders and entrepreneurs and their key influencers.
CNBC was selected as a partner based on their high reach and affinity with our global C-Suite and Entrepreneurial audiences and strong broadcast and quality production credentials.
The Content Solution
In collaboration with CNBC Catalyst, EY combined documentary style content and a virtual award show. The documentaries were shot on location with the entrepreneurs in cinematically interesting and relevant environments.
The content showcased inspirational entrepreneurial stories from around the world and the profiles of EOY/WEOY participants and alumni. We created content to engage our audience; stories from entrepreneurs who were innovating and providing relief from the COVID-19 pandemic
CNBC Catalyst produced and broadcast the live global awards show on CNBC.com. The show itself and subsequent winner announcements were truly an amazing feat of collaboration, scale, coordination, and precision timing. Managing multiple stakeholders and time zones, ensuring content didn’t go live until the winner had been announced, developing a flexible media plan that allowed us to quickly dial up promotion in certain locations depending on the award results.
Content development included a 27-minute live results show hosted by CNBC presenter Emma Crosby, an 8-minute awards highlights videos and a 60” winner announcement spot. It also featured an appearance from HRH The Prince of Wales as EY honoured him with an inaugural EY Social Entrepreneurship Award.
Pre and post event content also included traffic driving banners, rich media units and social cards. EY opted to supplement the award ceremony with a mini documentary about the finalists. Called The Unstoppables, which profiled entrepreneurs in engaging and insightful ways, and this turned out to be key in transforming the event as a whole.
A content hub (www.CNBC.com/weoy) provided the on-demand results show, winner profiles and other EY entrepreneurial content.
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
A three phased, multi-channel media campaign was created to maximise awareness and engagement. This encompassed ‘The Road to WEOY’ – raising awareness of WEOY & EY’s association with entrepreneurship. Also designed to build excitement and anticipation of the awards show. ‘The Awards show’ – showcasing the power of entrepreneurs in partnership with EY and announcing the winner of this flagship event, and ‘The Unstoppables’ – a celebration of all the EOY nominees and alumni.
TV Spots, digital impressions and video views replaced “bums in seats” and this digital activation enabled us to reach audiences far and wide who would not otherwise have attended the event or been exposed to this content from EY.
The Road to WEOY
The plan consisted of TV, video, rich media, digital display, and social amplification across CNBC’s channels, reaching business audiences in over 100+ countries. We applied behavioral and contextual targeting and aligned content to prime shows such as the daily Squawk Box news show – a high indexing programme with our audience.
Awards show and winner announcement
The live show was broadcast on CNBC.com and hosted by presenter Emma Crosby.
The media mix from this competent mirrored that of the Road to WEOY phase but included precision timed ‘Tune in’ traffic drivers and additions such as ad-break and homepage takeovers to coincide with the winner announcement, ensuring maximum viewership, impact and standout.
A mini documentary about a selection of outstanding entrepreneurs. The Unstoppables profiled the entrepreneurs in engaging and insightful ways. The same format was used to promote this phase of the activity with an emphasis on video and TV. This phase culminated in a 27-minute-long form documentary broadcast via CNBC on TV.
The 2021 campaign reached over 33 million viewers and generated 67 million impressions. It achieved 50 million video views of The Unstoppables 2 and reached 24 million people.
Research was commissioned by CNBC and executed by Global Web Index, measured the impact and effectiveness of the ‘The Unstoppables’ activity specifically.
- Full exposure to the campaign on CNBC led to a 30% uplift on brand consideration
- Brand positivity increased by 39% points
- Fully exposed audiences were 4.8x more likely to associate EY with advising entrepreneurs than those not exposed.
- 88% of those aware of EY recognized The Unstoppables creative (CNBC benchmark for all campaigns is 46%).
In addition, EY data showed:
- Applications to EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in the 10 weeks around the winner announcement in 2021 multiplied over three times — from 120 to 538 — in the same time period over the previous year.