April’s Slam Dunk and What It Can Teach Us.

Here at Iris Creative, last month could be summed up in one word: April.

No, we don’t mean the page of the calendar we were on. We’re talking about April THE GIRAFFE. And like many of her fans around the world, we obsessively followed her for weeks.

In case you missed it, on April 15 Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York hosted a live broadcast of their giraffe April giving birth to her calf for over 1 million YouTube viewers.

To date, their 39-minute YouTube archive clip has well over 14 million views. Fourteen million!

April even has her own official website—www.aprilthegiraffe.com. Folks contacting Animal Adventure Park with inquiries about giraffes are directed to a dedicated email address. And the Giraffe Cam even scored a sponsorship from none other than Toys“R”Us. (Remember their mascot Geoffrey?)

Needless to say, the event was a slam-dunk for a seasonal park in a county of just over 200,000 inhabitants.

From sharing slews of facts about giraffes and their conservation with millions of people to selling giraffe emojis, Animal Adventure Park orchestrated the awareness-building phenomenon many organizations dream of.

Or did they?

Building Awareness vs. Tapping Your Audience

Build awareness. It’s what everyone wants to do. But activities bent solely on building awareness can be costly—not only from a financial standpoint, but from a messaging standpoint as well.

Often, awareness-building initiatives result in a diluted message as you attempt to be everything to everyone in order to reach a broader audience. It’s so much harder to create a connection and differentiate yourself that way.

We’d much rather see organizations get a bigger bang for their buck—by creating a laser-focused connection with their ideal audience.

As it turns out, April’s Giraffe Cam didn’t start out with a vast audience in mind either—just her usual fans. And look where that focus got her!

Read on for our key takeaways from April’s blockbuster stream:

1. Listen to your audience.

According to a report by KENS5 Eyewitness News, the Giraffe Cam initiative started because the park—which is closed to visitors during the off-season—had been receiving inquiries about the status of April’s pregnancy from regular-season visitors.

The park listened.

They came up with the Giraffe Cam to keep interested folks informed.

And things snowballed from there.

2. Building momentum takes time.

The Giraffe Cam went live weeks before April’s calf was born, mostly, it seems, because the park simply didn’t know exactly when the big moment would arrive. Her tentative due date was mid-February.

The lead-up gave April’s viewership time to gain momentum—and secure a sponsor with appropriate tie-ins. The park even set up a text alert system so obsessed fans like us could get the latest updates.

(The Toys “R” Us logo switched to Babies “R” Us when the calf made his appearance. Talk about message alignment!)

None of this would have happened if they simply went live five minutes before the birth.

3. Follow up after an event. Invite participation. And add a little suspense!

After the live birth the morning of April 15th, the screen didn’t just go black. In addition to watching footage of the baby giraffe, people waited in suspense for the big gender reveal later that day. (Spoiler alert: It’s a boy!)

The park also encouraged fans—for a fee —to participate in two rounds of voting to help staff name the calf.

And you guessed it. They made an event of the name reveal, too. We’ll let you discover that one for yourself.

Do you see an opportunity to connect with your audience? Run with it!

Need some help getting off the ground? From engaging audiences to making the most of your events, creating connections is what we do best.

Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at info@iriscreative.com!

(Live streams not included.)