Matt Adlard, a Senior Planner who works on the Luxottica account

We asked Matt Adlard, a Senior Planner who works on the Luxottica account, four questions to understand a bit more about what he does in his spare time as the ‘Topless Baker’, a half dressed chef who live streams weekly cooking shows on Meerkat. Matt has been recognised as one of the top live streamers by AdWeek who described him as a ‘live streaming star that every brand should get to know’; he has also spoken at the Festival of Marketing about how brands should use live streaming. These questions cover Matt’s live streaming journey and what he has learned along the way.

  1. How did you get into live streaming and why Topless Baker?

We were doing research for Oakley about what owned social channels they should look at in 2016, and came across Periscope and Meerkat. There were some reservations that starting a new social channel would be worth the investment in terms of increased engagement.

I had started a blog, ‘Topless Baker’, earlier in the year, combining my love of food and exercise, and saw this as a perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the client how effective it could be. I knew I had a huge first-mover advantage and I could gain traction quickly so I ran home that night and the rest is history!

  1. So what did Oakley think about all of this?

We presented the business case to them and they were very impressed. Within three months, I had 20,000 followers on Meerkat and 1,800 on Instagram with an engagement rate above 30% per post.

When presenting this to Oakley, we were able to demonstrate that by creating authentic, engaging content, you could drive increased social engagement and organic reach, with minimal investment or paid media required.

  1. What are the benefits of live streaming and why should brands be using it?

Although it might be hard to see how brands can relate to ‘topless baking’, there are key lessons and benefits that can be applied to any brand.

First is the ability to drive increased engagement above and beyond traditional social channels. Consumers are hyper-savvy nowadays – especially the millennial audience. They are looking for engaging, authentic content that they can’t find anywhere else. The challenge we face with many traditional media channels is that it is a ‘one to many’ conversation – live streaming is the exact opposite and it allows you to have direct conversations with fans in real time, which drives huge engagement compared to traditional social channels.

Take OMD’s client Sony Pictures for example: everybody sees the actors going down the red carpet at premieres and can look at photos online, but imagine if fans could get insight into what happens behind closed doors at the event? Seth Rogan could Periscope to fans behind the scenes taking questions about his latest film release, giving exclusive insight that couldn’t be found elsewhere.

Secondly, you will learn more about your audience in one hour than you will through any traditional media. Thanks to the real-time nature of live streaming, you can react to fans’ questions or comments on the go, allowing you to be ‘creatively reactive’. You will learn what your consumers do or do not like about your channel quickly, which in turn allows you to adjust your content accordingly for your next episode.

Finally: the ability to drive cross-channel reach. By asking followers on Twitter what you should do in your next stream, or posting footage and images from the stream on Instagram afterwards, you can leverage live streaming across multiple touchpoints which in turn increases reach beyond the original channels.

  1. What advice would you give to brands looking to live stream?

The key piece of advice to brands is to be brave. There is still a huge first mover advantage within live streaming and brands need to be bold enough to take the first step.

Brands are very much used to having complete control over content, being able to filter, cut and edit footage to make sure it is perfect; however this is exactly what a live streaming audience doesn’t want to see. They want to see brands in their unfiltered, natural state, and although there are uncertainties around this, by taking that first step before competitors a brand can reap the rewards.

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