have always believed that listening to and watching what others are saying and
doing often influences what I might say or do. And the listening and
watching may not always be among those in my ordinary milieu. I try to be
especially attentive and observant in areas in which I otherwise would not
be: on the subway, in the theatre, in foreign countries. Even
among other generations (like the ever-fascinating millennials).
take this one step further. Corporations generally research their
customers and customer prospects. And they often look at
competitors. But do they look at sports teams and their fans?
answer is more complicated than you might think. According to sponsorship
consulting firm IEG, sports is ranked number one among sponsorship
opportunities in North America—with $13.8 billion projected to be spent in 2013
(up 6% over last year). But beyond the obvious benefits to corporate
sponsors, are there other lessons for us to learn from sports marketers about
building awareness, support and brand loyalty among customers?
recently attended a seminar on social media that featured the heads of
marketing and digital from the New York Rangers (hockey) and the Brooklyn
Nets (basketball). Here are some relevant points that were made:
football fans can chat with each other as they watch the game itself. They also
can connect to people of like ages, marital status, etc. Might
companies do that with their customers, thereby promoting conversations that
may stimulate sales?
NBA Game Locator allows fans to map their location against the locations and
schedules of where the NBA is playing nearby. Business should have
this one mastered. For example, Google Maps can do that for any
customer who wishes to locate a company branch or other relevant location, or
companies should have their upcoming events on their mobile version of their
website. 70% of companies don’t even have a mobile site, according to a
recent survey by Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report, produced
in association with RedEye.
the NHL lockout, the league reduced its Facebook postings from 5 to 2.
“We turned everything down until everything calmed down a little. We
needed to reengage with fans after the blackout.” Following a
crisis---sometimes corporations need to take a pause before rushing into doing
something that may be regrettable. That said, the CEO generally needs to pick
up the bar immediately and address all the stakeholders, whether the
corrections are in process or not.
the NHL lockout, the Rangers were asking themselves how to reach their angry,
alienated fans who simply wanted their hockey back. Once the lockout was
over, users were offered coverage through Facebook. They could select
images to create for their own cover photos (“Here’s My Own Blue Shirt
Pride!”). Fans seemed to enjoy it. They were excited that hockey
was back! Corporations can also manage their triumphs with the same
sense of humor — involving their customers.
team blog can be “private” — just for the team and the fans — with no
sponsors. Featuring raw footage and access to the players can bring the
fans closer to the team. Within regulatory constraints, the advent of
the internet means that customers can be offered the opportunity to dialogue
with a company’s leadership, thereby strengthening the relationship.
stadiums are getting wired. Fans’ smartphones can connect to the
Jumbotron, using a simple app, and the huge screen reflects the fans’
“likes.” Recently there were a million likes. Reviews are
nothing new (e.g., Yelp and Amazon have been around for years and at the
Consumer Electronics Show, attendees regularly vote for the winners of the
People’s Voice Awards); but what if there were the equivalent of a
jumbotron in every large venue in which their customers gather.
of these ideas are designed to create value for the client, and all of them are
employing social media as a tool which fascinates and captures fan and customer
Labels: communications, Makovsky, Public Relations