ISSUE 1 / 05.2011
Welcome to the first edition of Soccer Wise. A look around the world at interesting marketing, branding, sponsorship, communication, and social trends and ideas; and how these relate to the world of soccer. These nuggets of information will generally come from three different sources:
1. Directly from the business of soccer
Engaging fans in jersey choice and messaging
2. Related and interesting insight from the business of sport 3. Outside the category, but which represent a possible application in soccer This is the first edition and represents interesting stuff that I have found in the last 6-8 weeks, as well as other stuff that you may have missed and / or I deem appropriate to bring back out today. The aim of this news shot is to simply inform, make aware and stimulate interesting ideation for those working in or interested in the business of soccer. Hopefully the information contained within can help create some initiatives that can make your business more impactful. The opinion contained within are entirely those of the author and the original source destination of the information is included under each post.
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New Ways To Engage Fans In Your Venue
Allowing Fans to Co-create Team Jerseys
Mobile apps and fan participation, plus Facebook location sign-in opportunities
Integrated Campaigns â€˜Projectsâ€™ Can Be Powerful 5 adidas all in campaign, what does it mean?
Watch Out Behind You
Giving a heart-felt plea to your fans
Quick word on last minute advertising
Bloomberg sports and the New York Cosmos
Player videos to fans from Sampdoria and Middlesborough
Vancouver Whitecaps and the attractive nude lady
1. New Ways To Engage Fans In Your Venue Mobile applications and in-arena fan participation Newcastle United recently utilized a mobile application called Screach (from ScreenReach), offering fans the opportunity to vote for their man of the match during a live game at St James Park. The app enables fans to participate and interact with live events from the comfort of their seats, provided they have a compatible SmartPhone. Fans who took part got a 20% discount for the club store and had the opportunity to get their pictures displayed in the stadium concourse and on Facebook. At the end of the game the in-arena announcement and scoreboard all displayed the fan choice. So what? Itâ€™s a great way for you to engage in active dialogue with fans while they donâ€™t have to move form their seat.s You can shift something as trivial as voting for man of the match from corporate sponsors (a few men) to your loyal fan base (potentially thousands of votes). Sponsorship in the app offers up additional revenue streams as it targets fans who have signed up and entered data about themselves Source: Telemedia-News.com http://tiny.cc/1u9of http://www.screenreach.com/
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Facebook and 4square location based sign-in Recent figures suggest that the number 2 place to checkin after airports on Facebook and 4Square is sports stadiums and arenas. Location based services are here to stay and its about time sports leagues and teams paid it some much needed attention. Why? Checking in and letting friends no where you are is a huge growth area in social applications. How can you promote around this? If a fan checks in at your venue say X amount of times are they then worthy of a free hotdog or burger? If fans are already checking in at your venue without any prompting from you, how can you take it a step further and create an even greater connection and dialogue with that fan? Source: Football Marketing http://tiny.cc/ua2mp
2. Allowing Fans to Co-create Team Jerseys
Nike - Red All Over A great campaign from Nike to create interest in the new US national team alternative jersey. Based solely on the Twitter platform, Nike asked fans to respond with a motto that would be sewn into the new jersey for the Argentina game on March 23rd. Using the Twitter moniker #redallover, fans could enter a suitable motto, with Nike choosing the best to be integrated into the new jersey. So What? Its cheap and reaches an already engaged audience, fast. Once you inspire a Tweet trending revolution you can get great mileage out of a captivating idea. Using the passion people show towards soccer Nike created one of Twitters most trending topics. Can you use it to ask questions of your audience? Do you use it to ask what food is sold in your venues? What song they want the team running out to? The beauty in these campaigns is the simplicity and how little effort is needed to execute. Source: Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/nikesoccer Nike: http://inside.nike.com/blogs/nikesoccer/2011/03/18/create-the-new-usmnt-motto
Olympique de Marseille special fan surprise for reaching 1,000,000 Facebook Friends As reward and recognition for Marseille reaching over 1m Facebook followers the club promised a very special surprise. The club invited fans once the 1m mark was met to help them choose next seasons new jersey design. In association with adidas and their Facebook page they engaged, created dialogue and made it possible for fans to participate and offer opinion. So What? I’m going to let Sean Walsh at the www.theuksportsnetwork.com explain this one. “This is a brilliant example of not only motivating fans to follow official club channels, but a fantastic piece of engagement that lets fans get involved with the decision-making processes of the club. For the past number of years football clubs and manufacturers have seen their designs leaked online to websites like Footballshirtculture.com, often sparking debate among fans. This is a step forward in how clubs should deal with prospective shirt designs and ensure that fan opinion is taken into account.” Source: UK sports network: http://www.theuksportsnetwork.com/marseille-and-adidas-let-fans-pick-kit-design-to-celebratereaching-1m-facebook-fans Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OM
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Integrated Campaigns ‘Projects’ Can Be Powerful adidas ‘all in’ Not since the Nike ‘Write the Future’ spot from the 2010 FIFA World Cup have I been so excited about the possibilities of what a branded campaign can have. That particular Nike piece set the benchmark for wholly integrated campaigns, and an after-the-event case study, is a must read for anyone who is thinking of integrating all their media and social channels behind a central thought. The newest piece from adidas shows the brands capability far beyond sport; demonstrating how the brand plays into pop culture spaces and influences things away from the sporting action. Katy Perry, David Beckham, B.O.B, Derrick Rose; it’s sport, culture, fashion, music at its best, colliding and making things happen. The narrative of the ad goes through what an athlete, artist, DJ feels and sees, before, during, and after a performance. Showing the emotion, the build up and the ecstasy of when it all comes together. The first pieces of the follow-up are online now and invite the public to ‘show us your game face’ with the best being used in follow-up activation. adidas ‘all in’ is a very compelling invite for fans to help co-create and add longevity to a campaign that you’d expect adidas to milk over the coming months. So What? The most important thing to remember is that this should not be viewed as a one-off campaign; influential trends agency, Contagious (UK), said these should be viewed as on-going projects that are constantly in beta. What they mean is that you tinker in real time, are open to change, involved with social channels and opening dialogue with consumers...
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It is less about what you do with a single ad and more about how you connect it to the rest of your brands touchpoints. Having a strong idea as a central pivot and building from there is crucial for its success. It doesn’t have to be a big slick campaign like this by addias. It can be a small idea executed across a number of touchpoints. The key is to make it compelling, while enabling fans to help shape and influence the campaigns direction through various interactions.
Source: adidas http://www.youtube.com/adidas http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/2010/12/most_contagious_2010.php
Watch Out Behind You Do you know who your competitors are? It’s a question every business should ask themselves but often fail to fully recognize. If you’d asked Nokia 10 years ago who would be leading the Mobile space I’m not sure Apple would have topped many peoples list. The two examples below are recent demonstrations of what’s potentially around the corner and who might be plotting your demise.
New York Cosmos are Back Are they bigger than ever? Maybe. Will they get into the MLS and play competition level soccer again? Maybe. The point is they are here and they are making serious noise. It’s a brand that is un-doubtable cool, how many other soccer brands can make this claim? Infact how many other sports brands have the cool factor, period? The Cosmos are already shifting product and have more Facebook likes than most MLS teams; all this without even having a team on the field.
Bloomberg Sports Granted they are not yet in soccer, but I’d imagine they are not far away from having a product that may in some ways help revolutionize the sport. What is most remarkable is that Bloomberg did not even have a CMO until 3 years ago. Bloomberg’s move into sport was as much a product of employees passion as it was about any other strategic decsion. What they did as a business though was ask a really compelling question of themselves; what are we actually good at? ‘Making vast amounts of information useable’ was the unanimous shout. So they then asked another question, ‘In which sectors would this core competence have most benefit?’; Baseball was an obvious contender, with its vast amounts of statistics and data. In little over a couple of years they now provide data services for 30 out of the 32 MLB teams and sports is a growing category for them.
So What? Don’t underestimate the power of a good social strategy. The Cosmos are active everyday on Facebook, Twitter and other such channels. They constantly drive debate with fans, tell stories of the past, while linking it to the future. Fresh editorial, tweets and other social media is piped to users on a daily basis. Their partnerships also help deliver the brand. Umbro sit perfectly between football performance and culture and deliver a Cosmos product which is most definitely ‘on-brand’
So What? Which business is eyeing up soccer? Apple offer unrivalled consumer experiences; could that be translated into sports? Nothing should seem so crazy in this current environment. How do you keep these brands from knocking at your door? Well, keep looking at ways to improve your offer and making it more compelling. Don’t sit still just because no one is biting at your coat tails, think what Apple, JetBlue and Google might do in your situation.
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Some Further Reading: Fast Company magazines most innovative brands in Sports 2011 http://www.fastcompany. com/1738653/the-10-mostinnovative-companies-in-sports
Giving a heart-felt plea to your fans One thing I have noticed more and more is clubs using the voice of the player to engage with fans in a way that gets them back to the stadium, or back on-side. The proliferation of social media makes it easy for clubs to empower their players to star in video content that is then easily distributed to fans and potential fans of that club. These can be powerful mediums to deliver inspirational and highly emotive messaging. Below is a current example from Sampdoria in Italy and another you may have missed from Middlesborough FC in England.. Sampdoria - Together we are stronger What makes this particular video so powerful is its integration of the Sampdoria captain and star young player, alongside members of the Ultras supporters group. My Italian is somewhat sketchy, but this is the message the captain delivers. “I am the captain of the team... Never let the worm of defeat creep into us. On every ball, at every moment I’ll be there. We do not want to be alone. As we play, we need the fans and it is for them that we want to do it, us and them, together.” So What? Sampdoria have hit a huge slump after last seasons top 6 position, losing key players along the way. This video offers a platform to show fans that the players care and are hurting, just like them. It gives players a voice and a way to connect that otherwise can’t be communicated. Bringing players and fans together in a video like this strengthens the need for both to work together, to understand one-another and ultimately take the club forward. Source: http://www.footballitaliano.co.uk/p6_1_5900_sampdoria-players-call-on-fansfor-support.html
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Middlesborough - Fan on the Terrace to the Field Using local boy David Wheater to sell half-season ticket plans. The message is very much ‘I am a fan myself, I know what it means to be out on the field representing you, having your support driving me through every game is crucial’. Without the support of you, the fan, we’ll fall short. This was emailed to any fan who had recorded details with the club upon purchase of a ticket for a previous Middlesborough game. A powerful story of the unique mood of the club, the player and the fan. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiPPoaXRbAw
Final Word on Last Minute Advertising Naked Lady, Really? Vancouver Whitecaps picked an interesting topic to launch their final advertising piece into the world before the MLS season finally got underway. They revealed a video of a naked lady being painted in the teams colours, complete with team logos, badges etc. Now I’m not going to pass judgment, rather than to say it felt like it was a last minute addition to an otherwise fairly well structured pre-season campaign. Maybe it alienated some people, maybe it did not. Bigger point is; make sure you know who your target audience is and don’t do something that might put-off potential fans. Advertising that comes so late in the day, like this, could really help someone who is sitting on the fence decide whether to purchase match tickets, or force them against the idea. Another thing to watch out for though, is your partners. Do they agree with what you are doing and does it fit within their own ethical standards and values? Apparently Bell (Vancouver’s main sponsor), wasn’t best pleased when the ad was launched to the world. Good, bad, mistimed, misinformed, smart; you decide. It’s worth pointing out that the 30 other ads that made up the Whitecaps countdown offered a brilliant breakdown and slow reveal of what fans can expect of the new season. Small, inexpensive snippets of Vancouver and soccer related info condensed into easy to consume videos. Catch them all here: http://www.partnershipactivation.com/headlines/2011/3/27/the-whitecaps-generate-fan-excitement-for-their-seasonlaunc.html
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Who is â€˜Soccer Wiseâ€™? Soccer Wise is an ex Brand & Marketing Consultant of 5 years and current MBA student at the Warsaw Sports Business Center at the University of Oregon. Lived and worked in Dubai, London and New York, love understanding new cultures and people; past clients have included the London Olympics and adidas. Passionate about soccer, passionate about making the business side of the game a success. Please reach out if you have any questions, comments or otherwise. Where I get Inspired (a new selection every edition) Websites / Blogs: www.umbro.com www.football-marketing.com www.theuksportsnetwork.com www.joefavorito.com www.springwise.com www.psfk.com How to get in touch Twitter: @dbruce80 Email : email@example.com Phone: +718 200 7189
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