Lessons From Sport - Jon Reay, Aqueduct


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The emergence of innovative and highly effective digital strategies to engage ‘fans’ in sport, carries with it lessons and examples for all organisations in how to develop more compelling relationships with audiences.

Covering personalisation, single user view, incentive and reward, UGC support the presentation draws on actual case studies including Manchester City FC, The RFU, the FA and Next Generation Series (NGS) to highlight not only the latest technologies but also the organisational culture required to make audience engagement a win/win exercise for organisation and audience.

First presented at Sitecore's Digital Trendspot UK 2012, London, March 2012

Published in: Sports, News & Politics
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  • Thank you.Today I’m going to take you through a number of lessons that sport has taught us.
  • So, who is this session for?There are probably a number of different roles represented here today, your customers will be varied and your industries mixed.The point is, this is for you.So, you’re in the right place!
  • Back pages not front pages, leisure not business, child’s play.Yes, sport has been a poor relation to other sectors.So, what could we possibly learn from sport?
  • Well, Sport can also be pioneering, it’s about performance, big media presence, top tier partnerships, it’s global.Sport can be a great inspiration for brands in all sectors.
  • Today’s lessons aren’t new but we’re at a very special time where consumer behaviour and technical advances are converging, and sport is leading the way.
  • Sport revenue growth isahead of many other industries. Sporting organisations are increasingly more professional and commercially run
  • The capacity of stadia and other physical sporting groundsare limited. The capacity of the digital audience is limitless, and in most cases it already exceeds physical attendance, many fold in some cases.
  • Technology advancements are happening throughout sport. F1 is dominated by data driven performance and automation; TV is growing dimensions, connectivity and interaction; Live match and social data feed gaming platforms; Tracking and monitoring technologies are in place in more and more sports
  • Sports brands have natural advocates
  • And finally, It’s an Olympic year, and we’re in London. Sport is a trending topic, so we’re jumping on that in some ways. By the way, I should say we are not officially a partner of the Olympics, and these circles are merely relics of an old Google product we found lying about in the office.
  • Anyway, moving on. 5 lessons today.For each, I’ll show you an example from sport and an example from another sector.
  • Be More relevant. More, because be relevant is obviouslEvery person who visits your website or app is different, with different needs. Sitecore’s DMS enables you to identify and tailor the experience for each individual.
  • Consider time. The experience from one day to the next should be different.
  • Consider location. The needs and expectations of someone in a small rural town in Thailand will be different from someone in New York City.
  • We’ve developed a couple of sites for the FA (on Sitecore) – one for adults and one for kids, both about increasing participation in football. We’re catering for different audiences with the sites, sections and other triggers –child player, adult player, teacher, coach, parent, different locations, times and what your friends are doing.
  • Google search results are personalised. Even when not logged in, there are reportedly 57 signals Google uses to tailor the experience, and more of course when you are logged in. They’re now combining information from your data on all google products to ‘improve’ your experience. Some fear this is a bit big brother, and a great TED talk by Eli Pariser highlights the narrowness of a personalised experience, blocking what may be of interest outside of your usual preferences. But this is the end of relevance that most of us will never get to, not before customers are expecting and demanding it anyway. So you can always be MORE relevant.
  • These are all human qualities, that you can take on board with your digital activity.
  • A caution however, don’t pretend you’re human when you’re not, unless its so good people can’t tell the difference.
  • First, the sport example:We’re proud to work closely with Manchester City FC (a Sitecore customer), who do a fantastic job maintaining a friendly, manc tone to their editorial, making the site feel like your mate at the club rather than an impersonal corporate voice.
  • For the non-sport example, I’m going to pick on Apple’s Siri. It does exhibit human qualities, so much that you may start to think it is human, and get frustrated that it can’t understand you. Was it too early? It’s not in the new iPad which may be telling.
  • You should always support conversations, even if you have to keep it private between you and your customers.
  • Where possible though, make them public conversations.
  • Let people see what their friends are saying, and importantly what peers are saying. Nielson reports say that people trust not only their friends but peers/other customers they don’t know above brand comms and advertising.
  • The RFU (Sitecore customer and Aqueduct client) do a great job on engaging with fans on Facebook. It’s instant, direct interaction not only with the RFU but with other fans, and is fully public. Nearly every post poses a question, encouraging interaction.
  • For the non-sport example, Starbucks.They’ve have always had a customer-centric approach. It’s not about coffee, it’s about meeting people, having conversations, and after yesterday, knowing your name!My Starbucks Idea encourages customers to submit their ideas, voted and commented on by other customers.
  • 4th lesson. Having conversations is one thing, but you have to listen to them, learn from them and reward influencers
  • Get your audience to do the hard work – let them create value and content for your brand.
  • Sport example is NextGen Series – the league of youth academy teams from top european clubs.Here, there was a guy from Turkey who had created a fan page before the official one. The client was worried, wanted to shut it down etc. But we recommended they embrace it, give a logo,Social engagement fueled by ‘superfans’ was rewarded.
  • Non sport is Heineken. There are lots of examples like this of course. Brands inviting fans to create something, share it and compete with others. Yes this can be just for PR and brand spread and positioning, but more powerful if it actually creates something new. Getting your customers to work for you.
  • Final lesson is not about your customers, it’s about your partners, sponsors, advertisers, affiliances. They’re important, they pay for things, they give you more customers. Digital enables brands to do much more than provide a media space for these entities, and this obviously impacts the value of partnerships and the REVENUE. Not exploited enough!
  • First example is Football League. We’ve been working with them to produce a site in collaboration with Kia. FL and Kia share common goals here and this is key – getting people to games, getting people on the road.Fans choose their team, fixture, and start point to get a route and partner offers.This is so much more impactful for FL and Kia than a banner – it creates an association with users of the brand, it’s an ongoing relationship.
  • Here’s a non sport example that shows how brands can partner together well. The point about this one is that the role of digital is not being fully exploited.
  • There are the 5 lessons. But actually, there’s one more.
  • Present data and content to fans in better waysUse visual and interactive techniques to make more exciting and entertainingGet more value out of your content
  • We’re working with Manchester City on a new range of ‘data products’. This is the first time we’ve shown these to any audience in the UK, they were aired at SxSW in US last week.These are highly visual, interactive, entertainment tools that incorporate natural gameplay and social elements. There are two examples – run in table and player influence.
  • This last example is a bit of fun, you can drive a car around and unearth mixed media content, as well as getting a feel for different features in the car itself.Follow no-one
  • Sport has been a poor relation to other sectors in many ways, but not in others.These lessons are not new, but the time has come to follow them, and sport is leading the race.
  • Lessons From Sport - Jon Reay, Aqueduct

    1. 1. presented by Jon Reay @jreay March 2012LESSONS FROM SPORTengaging fans, members + loyalty audiences #SitecoreDTS
    2. 2. WHO IS THIS FOR? Sports Digital managers Fans Media and Members entertainment Marketing Editors YOUR Closed groups YOUR RetailYOU CUSTOMERS International INDUSTRY Automotive Social media managers Business FMCG CRM managers Media B2B Sales Prospects Financial services C-level Jobseekers Government Agencies Charities
    3. 3. WHY SPORT?Sport has been a poor relation to other sectors in many ways.
    4. 4. WHY SPORT?But in others, it’s ahead of the game.
    5. 5. WHY SPORT?Today’s lessons aren’t new but their time has come. digital technology advancements consumer adoption time
    6. 6. WHY SPORT? Sport is a growing business sector English professional football club revenues Source: Deloitte, Premier League, Football League, Mintel. Nov 2011Source: Deloitte, Premier League, Football League, Mintel. Nov 2011
    7. 7. WHY SPORT? The audience is increasingly digital Stadium attendance vs website visitors Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City Liverpool Chelsea Sunderland Aston Villa Everton Unique monthly website visitors Tottenham Hotspur West Ham United Average stadiumWolverhampton Wanderers attendance Stoke City Blackburn Birmingham City Fulham Bolton Wanderers Wigan Athletic 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 ThousandsSource: Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2011, Comscore
    8. 8. WHY SPORT?Sport embraces new technology
    9. 9. WHY SPORT?Sports brands havenatural advocates
    10. 10. WHY SPORT?It’s an Olympic year—sport is a trending topic
    11. 11. FIVE LESSONS
    12. 12. BE MORE RELEVANTEveryone is unique, learn from them
    13. 13. BE MORE RELEVANTEvery day is different.
    14. 14. BE MORE RELEVANTBring back local
    15. 15. BE MORE RELEVANTaudience, location + time relevanceSPORT EXAMPLE
    16. 16. BE MORE of the bubble)auto-tailored (be aware RELEVANTNON-SPORT EXAMPLE
    17. 17. BE HUMANOpen up
    18. 18. BE HUMANDon’t be afraid
    19. 19. BE HUMANHave a personality
    20. 20. BE HUMANAdapt to your environment
    21. 21. BE HUMANExhibit human qualities, but be genuine
    22. 22. BE HUMAN the clubfriendly, fresh, your mate atSPORT EXAMPLE
    23. 23. BElearning, but not real!smart, HUMANNON-SPORT EXAMPLE
    24. 24. HAVE CONVERSATIONSSupport 2-way conversations about everything
    25. 25. HAVE CONVERSATIONSShare conversations in public (when possible)
    26. 26. HAVE CONVERSATIONSInvolve friends and peers in conversations
    27. 27. HAVE interaction with the RFUinstant, direct CONVERSATIONSSPORT EXAMPLE
    28. 28. HAVE CONVERSATIONSopen, collaborative, customer-centricNON-SPORT EXAMPLE
    29. 29. KNOW + LOVE YOUR INFLUENCERSListen to fan interactions, learn from them and reward influencers
    30. 30. KNOW + LOVE YOUR INFLUENCERSGet your audience to create value and content for your brand
    31. 31. KNOW + identify, rewardYOUR INFLUENCERSsupport, incentivise, LOVESPORT EXAMPLE
    32. 32. KNOW + LOVE YOUR INFLUENCERSfan engagement, co-creation, competitionNON-SPORT EXAMPLE
    33. 33. GIVE PARTNERS VIP TREATMENTGive sponsors, partners and advertisers a ‘front row seat’ inconnecting with your audience.
    34. 34. GIVE PARTNERS VIP TREATMENTuseful, targeted, brand relevantSPORT EXAMPLE
    35. 35. GIVEone iconic brand to ‘benefit’ another TREATMENTleveraging PARTNERS VIPNON-SPORT EXAMPLE
    36. 36. FIVE LESSONS
    38. 38. EXTRA DIMENSIONS TO EXISTING CONTENTNo need to create more content, just present it differently
    41. 41. WHY SPORT?
    42. 42. JON REAY 0207 195 2239 jon@aqueduct.co.uk @jreayTHANK YOU.get in touch and find out how we can helpyou to better engage your audience. @weareaqueduct www.aqueduct.co.uk