It’s not enough for brands to put logos on stadium signage and air commercials during events — in our social world, the goal is not pure reach, but mass engagement. Strong photo and video content captures what we love about sport — the strength, speed, skill, teamwork, stamina and passion. These elements also provide brands the perfect opportunity to use sport to sell their products and services. The game is on to turn the fans’ love for sports into meaningful brand engagement.
Here are five ways brands can capitalize on sport marketing trends:
Sports fans are highly engaged and passionate. The challenge for brands is to not disrupt their experience, but rather engage the audience in a valuable manner. Brands need to stay relevant and authentic and also understand the culture to integrate their messaging well. Bringing audience participation into a campaign creates the sense of connection fans love and taps into the creative power of the sports crowd. Instagram recently announced that in roughly one third of US states the most popular locations from which photos are shared are sports venues — offering a great opportunity to engage fans through consumer-generated imagery.
Tell a story
Passionate fans are always looking for more content. Brands wanting to create a closer bond with their audience need to immerse them in a memorable experience — compelling storytelling is key. On most platforms visuals rule, with statistics showing that images get more attention than text alone. Images evoke emotional reactions and communicate a lot of information quickly and efficiently. Red Bull is a brand that has led the way in telling compelling visual stories across many different platforms, and their Red Bulletin is a great example of elevating a captivating story with stunning visuals.
Sports and social media are a great match. It’s all about building community spirit, but brands need to demonstrate that they are invested in it. The challenge and beauty of sports communication for brands is its live character. Agile or moment marketing gives brands the chance to engage in real-time conversations with their digital savvy audience. Oreo’s ‘Power out. No problem. You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl showed that it pays to have a team ready to react, in real time.
Mobile is becoming even more important, both for wider audiences and for visitors to sport venues. All sports will continue to improve the stadium experience as well as enhance viewing-at-home. Brands need to build their campaigns not only for one screen, but also for the mobile devices used during the game. Several brands tapped into the power of the second screen during the 2014 Super Bowl, including Priceline’s debut on Vine and Audi in partnership with The Onion on Snapchat.
Choose the right platform
Twitter was first to become the platform for sports fans, as stars started sharing their professional and private lives online. But as our social conversations are becoming more image immersive, visually driven platforms are gaining popularity for sports communication. Fans are increasingly turning to Instagram to watch and share photos and videos from league accounts like the NBA, NFL or WWE, as well as following the personal snapshots of sports stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James or Tony Hawk.