Facebook’s Open House concept is very simple: create a replica house where products can be showcased, as well as a space to engage with clients. Michael Bratt went for a visit.
Social media giant Facebook held its very first Open House event in Fourways, Johannesburg.
The Open House concept is very simple; create a replica house where products can be showcased, as well as a space to engage with clients. On display in Facebook’s house were offerings from 2G all the way to 360 technologies. The theme of all these products was how to utilise mobile to market, as Facebook says the trends indicate that mobile is now a major player.
“The concept is to reach and design an event, an experience which is tailored towards our clients’ needs by vertical,” said Mark Hamilton, head of marketing for Middle East, Africa, Israel and Turkey for Facebook. “Typically what we have done in the past is have very large events, but it’s been relatively generic because it has to be relevant to a larger audience. And what we feel is there is an opportunity for Facebook and Instagram to get deeper with our clients’ businesses and to really drive greater knowledge and best practice, that’s really going to help them deliver better solutions for their industry.”
This is, as a result of Facebook and Instagram listening to the needs of their clients.
Open for a week, the house has welcomed over 300 people through its doors from industries such as beverages, automotive, insurance, fast moving consumer goods, and others. “We really want to keep it small, intimate that provides clients the opportunity to ask the questions, but also to network within their own community,”Hamilton added.
Elizma Nolte, head of business marketing for sub-Saharan Africa for Facebook, said each industry was able to receive a customised engagement when they visited the house.
The products on display were wide-ranging and included looped videos, videos without sound tailored to mobile, Slideshow (which is where still images are stitched together to form what looks like a video), adapted television commercials to cater for mobile, 360 technology represented by the Oculus and still images, where only a portion of it is animated.
All these products demonstrated two things, firstly that video can work for mobile, and secondly that it does not take a huge investment to make video effective. See the image gallery below for examples of the different products.
When asked why Johannesburg was chosen to roll out the Open House concept Hamilton said:
Nolte said the Open House concept may be taken to other markets in the world. “We’re very much learning from each other so there might be a market who feel that they are really advanced, they require a different format of doing things. So it’s very much up to each market to decide what works for them and what doesn’t.” She explained that the Open House concept worked so well for South Africa, because the Facebook team here is so small, consisting of only 9 people, and so therefore embraces scaled outreach and partnerships across the continent.
The Open House will be moving to Istanbul next, followed by Tel Aviv, Dubai and will then hopefully return to South Africa in Cape Town.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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