Digital tools such as social networks
enable consumers to talk about and engage with their passions and
the number one passion for most consumers is sport. Music may enjoy
the same level of enjoyment but for mass, high profile passion,
sport is number one.
Fan sites, Twitter feeds and blogs all
connect consumers to the clubs, sports, players and events they
love. In the age of dialogue, the world's biggest conversation is
Around 70% of all adults are engaged
in some sport consumption across any number of channels at least
once a week, which highlights how important the subject is to
people's everyday lives. That's significantly higher than any other
single topic or subject.
As advertisers, you may be wary about
intruding into an area of such intense passion, but the rewards for
getting it right can be game changing.
Authentic participation is the
key to getting the engagement right.
What brands need in order to succeed
in this space is authenticity - the consumer has to see a clear and
tangible reason for your products or services to be involved in a
Ensuring that you are authentic
requires a fairly detailed strategic process and a framework for
success. Brands need to identify their KPIs and work out what they
want sport rights to achieve for them. They need to identify who
they want to reach in order to ensure that they choose a platform
and a property that is going to deliver against these bespoke
Are they a soft drink brand looking to
find ways to drive consumption at the point of sale? Are they a
business-to-business brand looking to capture senior corporate
decision makers in a captive atmosphere?
What age group do they want to target?
What markets are the most important?
Different sports attract
different types of consumers in different countries around the
Without such kind of analysis,
sponsorship rights will forgo most of their greatest benefits and
its ROI will be miles below its potential.
Having identified this, the next step
- if you are an FMCG brand for example - is to work out how your
brand can authentically enhance the experience of the particular
sport for the consumer. Unlike five years ago even, the digital
tools that consumers use to engage and follow sports these days are
Apps, for example, offer brands a
clear route to providing added value. A branded app tailored to
football or tennis, for instance, could recognise the faces of
players and provide statistics on past performances and match
An NFL app could enable sports fans to
"bet" amongst themselves on the likely performance stats for the
Brands could even offer exclusive
access to sports stars to create content. Audi in the US, for
example, partnered with the US Olympic Ski Team, to talk to team
members in a way that chimed perfectly with the brand's positioning
in the market. That content could then be packaged and broadcasted
both via traditional channels as well as via targeted digital
Joining the right amount of
creativity with compelling content always delivers.
Mobiles, tablets and computers are now
the devices that connect brands and consumers. They have become the
enabling tools for a better conversation with consumers at a time
But the key to brand success is always
the full, objective strategic review carried out before the
investment in sport rights takes place. Too many brands still fail
in this regard, forgoing a much greater delivery value with the
world's most talked about subject.
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