In recent times, it’s fair to say that we’ve seen the consumption of sport shift from traditional media towards online media. As marketers promoting sports sponsorship, it’s important for us to understand how fans follow sport and on which media, in order to make sure our message reaches our audience and is as impactful as it can be.
You might be familiar with the term ‘multi-screening’ or ‘dual-screening’ – this refers to the use of multiple tech devices at one time. Do you often find yourself checking Twitter whilst you’re watching TV? Thought so. Even whilst watching TV, three quarters of us are using a second screen.
As dual-screening becomes increasingly popular, sports brands are embracing social media, using it to engage with fans and provide a real-time two-way conversation between fans and their favourite sports teams. Fans are able to be reactive as results are happening, and share their excitement (or dismay, depending on the result!) with their friends and followers.
Sports clubs (particularly football) are embracing social media, with clubs posting unique content such as transfer announcements and exclusive behind the scenes videos. Aston Villa created this bespoke WhatsApp group chat to announce John Terry’s signing across social media, which unsurprisingly got people talking.
Creating these memorable moments online will help build important brand ambassadors.
Here’s five ways to effectively promote a sports sponsorship:
Give fans an unforgettable match day experience
In many cases, the biggest opportunity to engage with sports fans is on match day. A game of football for example only lasts 90 minutes, with little dwell time before and after. Now maths isn’t my strong point, but that doesn’t seem like a long time considering how much money goes into sponsoring sports teams – just take a look at the amount that is spent on shirt sponsorship in the Premier League alone.
The game itself has almost become secondary to content produced before and after the game on social media. When forming new partnerships, sponsors are looking for innovative social media content that will keep fans engaged on match day. Here’s an example of how Samsung engaged Australian rugby fans on match day to promote their game changing technology:
Grab people’s attention and hold it
Live streams, exclusive videos, player interviews – these are just a few examples of ways in which you can captivate your audience through unique content. Fans will look to you as the sponsor to provide content they can’t find anywhere else, which ultimately should lead to positive brand perception.
In our work with Provident Financial, the Main Sponsor of the Bradford Bulls, it was important for us to show how the sponsor has the ability to create a fan community and build on the Provident brand. We created a Bradford Bulls supporters Facebook page that is home to everything from full game highlights and player interviews to exclusive competitions and giveaways. Housing this content on social media allows Provident to have a two-way conversation with fans, building a community of loyal brand advocates who come to Provident first to find out the latest Bulls news.
Encourage the players to get involved
Clubs are taking advantage of their high profile signings and are using their star players and famous fans to generate some buzz on social media. In 2016, Manchester United partnered with Stormzy to announce the signing of Paul Pogba with a short music video.
Bringing together two elements that fans would recognise and enjoy allows brands to show off their personality but also build loyal brand ambassadors. Nivea Men’s shaving gel collaboration with Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, and the Liverpool players is a great example of using players to promote a sponsorship.
Be on the ball
Like sport, social media is live, it’s happening as we speak – cat and dog videos are still going viral, and news continues to break on social media before it falls into the hands of the journalists. Because social media is instant, it’s important to be reactive and spot opportunities for your brand wherever they may crop up. A perfect example of this was Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout back in 2013. Despite the millions of dollars spent by brands on the half time adverts, the Huffington Post regarded it as one of the most buzz-worthy ads of the Super Bowl.
Move with the times
As TV viewing numbers continue to drop, it’s important for brands to embrace new ways in which fans are consuming sport. The younger generation in particular no longer has two hours to sit and watch the match with their friends in front of the TV. Instead, they’re grabbing their phone to watch short clips of the ‘best bits’ and key moments from the match. Budweiser recently took advantage of this by agreeing a partnership with Twitter to sponsor video clips on the platform for the 2016 European Championships. When clips from games were published on Twitter, a message from Budweiser would also pop up.
Spotting conversations that are happening in real-time provides the perfect opportunity for brands to grab hold of the space and get their message across.
Acquiring a sponsorship deal in itself is only half the battle. Knowing effective ways to leverage a sponsorship to your target audience can be difficult, but with the right tactics can produce great results for any sports brand.
If you’re looking for some help activating a sponsorship whether on social media or through experiential, get in touch!
– Oli Mitchell, Senior Account Executive.