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The Games go digital

Less than a year before the start of the Games, the Organising Committee has begun to step up their online presence in order to transmit and promote their actions, but also to unite and involve the fans. With the launch of the new event website and their presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, the Games will soon be all over the web ! Victor Lamm, the Games’ Digital Communications Manager, talks to us about how the Games are going digital. 

The Games go digital
© Comité d'Organisation Normandie 2014

THE NEW EVENT WEBSITE WILL GO ONLINE IN A FEW DAYS (MONDAY, 18 NOVEMBER). WHY HAVE YOU CREATED THIS NEW WEBSITE ?

The former website, which was created in 2011, was clear and easy to understand as it featured the important event information – competition sites, disciplines involved, Normandy, etc. – in a simple and direct way. But less than a year before the event, and with ticket sales opening to the general public today, we had to create a website worthy of a large-scale international event, with more advanced developments that showcase our multimedia content, historic content, disciplines, social networks… Our event is complex, as we have not one but eight official disciplines that are held at six different competition sites. We are therefore recruiting 3,000 volunteers who will help the 500,000 expected spectators discover the region of Normandy, which is still relatively unknown abroad, so a new website was essential nine months before the start of the Games. It’s worth noting that, from December onwards, this website will use responsive web design in order to adapt to all types of screen: computers, tablets and smartphones.

WHAT CONTENT ARE FEATURED AS A PRIORITY ?

Lots of content have been added or improved upon on the new website, thanks to the help of the FEI. We showcase photos and videos of the “highlights” from the first six editions of the Games, photos and texts about the competitions in the 8 official Games disciplines, plenty of useful information to help future spectators to plan their visit, information about the Norman region... This website should be appreciated by both horse event “enthusiasts” and first-timers who want to learn about equestrianism, Normandy and the event itself.

This website will then evolve a few weeks before the start of the Games so that competition-based content – results, live scores, medals tables – is at the forefront.

AND WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY ON SOCIAL NETWORKS ? 

We have had a French Facebook page since 2011 and an English Facebook page since late 2012. We regularly update these two pages, with content added once daily on average: information about the event, but also news from the horse world, from Normandy, etc., and all with an informal tone. We now have 65,000 fans and we will step things up over the next few months to include more news and mutliple games. At the end of the month for example, we will launch a game to shine the spotlight one of the eight official FEI disciplines each month...with lots of prizes up for grabs of course. And get ready to see loads of other games in 2014: video competitions, predictions and much more.

But social networking is not just Facebook. We have also been on Twitter since September, with just one account @normandie2014 that combines French and English tweets. We have 800 followers after just two months: a good start considering the event starts in a year’s time. We use Twitter to spread Games news, but also to relay news from the horse world and sport in general. And, of course, it is a great platform for instantly replying to fans’ questions. We are also on Pinterest with around twenty diverse and varied boards. And, of course, we have an Instagram account (normandie2014), where we share all of our behind-the-scenes photos, so that fans can follow the organisation of the event as well as the Games’ Road Tour van’s travels.

As a general rule, the aim of these social networks is to interact with the fans, to answer any questions they might have, and to share more fun and informal content than on the website or in print. It is also a great way to find out what the fans think, which then allows us to adapt our communications. The Games poster, for example, was deemed too sombre and childish for certain fans on Facebook. We therefore took their comments into account and made changes. Your comments and tweets are very welcome!

ARE THERE ANY NOTABLE DIGITAL DEVELOPMENTS ?

Yes, we are going to develop a mobile application. This application will be available in early summer 2014, a few weeks before the start of the event itself. I won’t say anything more for now, but I can say that this application will be worth a look !

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