Whitepaper How To Use Digital To Maximise Sports Sponsorship V2[1]


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A white-paper written for the Sports Leadership conference 2012 - describing how to maximize the value of sports sponsorship in a digital world

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Whitepaper How To Use Digital To Maximise Sports Sponsorship V2[1]

  1. 1. th 10  October  2012     Building  a  sporting  ‘Brand  Legacy’  through  shifting  from     The  Attention  to  Participation  Economy     How  to  create  value  from  sports  sponsorship  in  a  digital  world    INTRODUCTION      Digital  has  changed  sport  forever.  The  biggest  challenge  facing  sports  brands  is  how  to  use  digital  to  maximize  the  value  from  sponsorship  programs  over  and  above  traditional  measures  of  success,  such  as  awareness  and  impressions.  Building  a  true  sporting  ‘Brand  Legacy’   beyond   just   awareness   is   becomingly   increasingly   important.   Sports   brands  need   to   be   able   to   justify   the   rising   costs   in   sporting   rights,   combat   audience   and  customer  fragmentation.  On  top  of  this,  they  need  to  overcome  the  prohibitive  law  of  sports   sponsorship   activation,   which   can   cost   twice   as   much   as   the   rights   themselves.    Brands   need   to   put   fan   participation   at   the   heart   of   their   objectives,   and   thus   make   the  shift  from  the  attention  to  the  participation  economy.    In  order  for  sports  brands  to  do  this,  we  recommend  that  they  follow  two  key  principles  for  success:     1. Invest  more  in  owned  media  and  leverage  fan  participation  so  you  don’t  have  to   buy  your  media,  you  can  earn  it.     2. Build  out  from  the  ‘live’  sporting  engagement  moment  to  effectively  drive  fan   participation.    These  principles  will  govern  the  shift  from  the  attention  to  the  participation  economy.  But  before  we  look  at  them  in  greater  detail,  let’s  consider  the  four  major  themes  that  are  emerging  in  the  changing  world  of  sport.  
  2. 2. th 10  October  2012        1  -­‐  Fans:  The  shift  from  ‘Story  Telling’  to  ‘Story  Participation’  in  sport  The  biggest  events  in  social  media  are  ‘live’  sporting  events.  Two  of  the  top-­‐ten  ‘Tweets-­‐Per-­‐Second’  moments  are  football  events,  eg:  UEFA  Champions  League  and  the  Final  of  the   Womens   World   Cup   ’11.   This   demonstrates   a   fundamental   shift   in   how   people  engage  with  sports.  Fans  are  no  longer  passive  recipients  of  an  armchair  experience,  but  are  now  a  fully  contributing  part  of  how  these  sporting  dramas  play  out.      2  –  TV  /  Broadcasters:  Financial  value  is  increasingly  about  the  ‘live’,  social  and  multiscreen  entertainment  experience  TV  /  Entertainment  Broadcasters  are  investing  heavily  in  new  platforms  to  enhance  the  viewing  experience.  Broadcasters  are  increasingly  looking  to  create  new  financial  value  around   the   ‘LIVE’   engagement   opportunity   (live   game).   Sky   has   been   particularly  aggressive  in  this  space  with  the  development  of  new  platforms  that  help  enhance  the  viewing   experience,   for   example   the   SKY   GO   platform   and   their   investment   in   Zeebox,   a  second   screen   social   TV   platform.   As   second   screen   and   micro   payment   opportunities  evolve,   more   and   more   clients   will   look   to   utilize   live   engagement   opportunities   for  financial  gain.    3  -­‐  Clubs  /  Owners:  Helping  fans  get  closer  to  the  players  and  action  to  maximize  potential  revenue  streams  Despite   a   record   price   for   the   recent   sale   of   the   Premier   League   TV   rights,   it   is  increasingly   difficult   for   clubs   to   increase   profits.   Whether   it’s   the   saturation   of   stadium  capacity  limiting  potential  match  day  revenues,  or  the  increasing  costs  associated  with  players’  wages,  clubs  are  increasingly  looking  to  the  digital  space  to  drive  new  financial  opportunities.   Given   the   celebrity   status   of   footballers   (and   athletes),   and   the   ability   for  digital   technology   to   connect   people   in   ways   that   weren’t   possible   10   years   ago,   it   is   no  surprise  that  more  and  more  clubs  are  looking  to  help  fans  ‘get  closer’  to  players,  staff,    
  3. 3. th 10  October  2012    clubs’   stories   and   histories.   Of   course   these   are   all   in   an   attempt   to   generate   new  revenue  streams.  For  example,  Manchester  City’s  deal  with  YouTube  to  broadcast  online  video  footage  is  a  direct  attempt  to  use  unique  video  content  to  drive  desirability  and  interest   to   build   their   fan   base.   Similarly,   brands   such   as   Nike   are   more   and   more  directly  engaging  with  players  to  enhance  their  marketing  activity.  This    can  sometimes  backfire,   as   demonstrated   by   Nike’s   “Make   it   count”   campaign,   which   was   banned   after  the   Advertising   Standards   Authority   ruled   that   tweets   made   by     Wayne   Rooney   on  behalf  of  Nike  did  not  clearly  state  they  were  adverts.    The   real   challenge   however,   is   that   if   clubs   and   owners   don’t   adapt   to   this   new  commercial   opportunity,   the   players   themselves   will   ultimately   drive   the   exclusion   of  clubs  and  owners.  David  Beckham  is  the  archetypal  example  of  a  footballer  super  brand,  and  others  are  now  following  in  his  footsteps.  For  example,  Rio  Ferdinand  has  recently  launched   his   “ ♯ 5”   style   brand   and   uses   fashion   clothing   and   magazine   editorial  platforms  to  capitalize  on  his  celebrity  brand  status.    4  -­‐  Marketers:  Shifting  from  sport  campaign  messages  to  sporting  brand  experiences    There   has   been   a   shift   in   recent   years   in   how   marketers   have   conducted   their   activity  around  sports.  Whether  it  has  been  Adidas  “Take  the  stage”,  Nike’s  “Make  it  count”  or  Coca-­‐Cola’s  FIFA  ’10  “Longest  celebration”  campaign,  we  are  increasingly  seeing  brands  looking   to   build   more   participatory   executions.   The   value   these   types   of   brand  experiences   offer   is   not   only   in   the   fan   engagement   they   can   drive,   but   also   in   their  cumulative   effect.   As   we   shift   in   to   an   ‘always-­‐on’   world,   brands   can   no   longer   afford   to  be   driven   by   a   campaign   mentality   alone,   with   dependencies   on   disposable   and  expensive   bought   media.   Instead,   a   ‘brand   experience’   approach   allows   marketers   to  continuously   engage   audiences   over   time,   adding   incremental   reach   as   well   as   deeper  engagement.    
  4. 4. th 10  October  2012    CREATING  VALUE  THROUGH  DIGITAL:  Through   technology,   fans   have   never   been   so   close   to   sport,   and   yet   in   some   ways   they  have  never  been  so  far.  To  capitalize  on  this  and  to  create  value  from  sports  sponsorship  in  the  digital  age,  brands  should  look  to  put  participation  at  the  heart  of  their  objectives,  and  thus  make  the  shift  from  the  attention  to  the  participation  economy.      This  brings  us  back  to  the  two  key  principles  for  success,  which  businesses  should  follow  to  drive  participation.    PRINCIPLE  ♯ 1:  Invest  more  in  owned  media  to  leverage  fan  participation  so  you  don’t  have  to  buy  your  media,  you  can  simply  earn  it:     -­‐ Invest   more   in   long-­‐term   owned   media   than   short-­‐term   bought.   Generate   earned  media  through  fan  participation  and  fuel  not  only  sports  activations,  but   also   wider   business   programs   (acquisition,   e-­‐commerce,   content   generation,   retention,   business   intelligence,   data   insight   and   customer   preferences).   For   example,   Foot   Locker’s   Sneakerpedia   platform   is   a   great   example   of   a   brand   investing  in  owned  media  to  harness  the  passion  and  enthusiasm  of  sneaker  fans   for  business  benefits.     -­‐ Sport   can   give   a   brand   something   interesting   to   say   and   talk   about   with   its   customers   long-­‐term.   Done   well,   it   can   drive   earned   media   effectiveness,   allowing   brands   to   not   only   move   towards   a   more   authentic   type   of   communication,  but  also  a  more  cost  effective  one.  Thus,  breaking  dependencies   on  expensive  and  disposable  bought  media-­‐led  strategies  to  fuel  conversation.        
  5. 5. th 10  October  2012    Establishing  a  program  for  how  to  use  sport  to  drive  earned  media  conversations  with  and   between   fans,   and   identifying   how   and   where   to   incorporate   this   across   wider  business   programs   (i.e.   acquisition,   CRM)   is   the   first   step   to   capitalizing   on   the  participation  economy.    PRINCIPLE  ♯ 2:    Build   out   from   the   ‘live’   sporting   engagement   opportunity   to   effectively   drive   fan  participation    (THE  PRE/  DURING/  POST/  TRANSITION  FRAMEWORK):         -­‐ Build  out  from  the  ‘live  ‘sporting  moment  to  create  maximum  fan  relevancy  and   engagement,  as  the  live  moment  is  when  fans  are  at  their  most  passionate  and   enthusiastic.   Identify   fans’   needs,   and   use   the   framework   to   plot   relevant   approaches   to   help   ensure   not   only   active,   but   also   mass,   and   on-­‐going   fan   participation.        Figure  2:  The  ‘live’  and  extended  engagement  opportunity  space:    
  6. 6. th 10  October  2012    There   are   three   potential   approaches   sports   brands   can   use   to   maximize   the   ‘live’  engagement  opportunity:         1. Broaden  fan  engagement   2. Deepen  fan  engagement   3. Extend  (pre  or  post)  fan  engagement    BROADEN  FAN  ENGAGEMENT:  Sports  brands  can  look  to  digital  technologies  as  a  means  of  broadening  the  appeal  of  the   ‘live’   event   experience,   helping   to   amplify   the   intensity   and   awareness   of   ‘live’  moments.  Extending  fans’  engagement  to  include  other  fans  will  open  up  experiences  to  the  widest  audience  possible.    DEEPEN  FAN  ENGAGEMENT:  Alternatively,  sports  brands  may  wish  to  consider  more  of  a  ‘lean  forward’  strategy  and  look   to   deepen   fan   engagement.   Use   the   ‘live’   moment   to   draw   fans   deeper   into  experiences   and   empower   them   to   contribute   and   add   to   it.   For   some   fans   and   some  sports   however,   drawing   fans’   attention   away   from   the   ‘live’   moment   can   become   a  negative,  and  it  is  important  that  clients  find  the  right  balance  between  ‘lean  forward’  and  ‘lean  back’  strategies  when  trying  to  extend  fan  engagement.    EXTEND  (PRE  OR  POST)  FAN  ENGAGEMENT:  All  true  sports  fans  are  driven  by  hope  and  belief,  and  as  such  the  moments  leading  up  to,   and   directly   after,   the   ‘live’   event   can   be   exceptionally   fertile   areas   for   brands   to  extend  fan  engagement.  As  fans  begin  to  prepare  and  plan  for  a  sporting  event,  brands  have   the   opportunity   to   directly   engage   them   in   the   build   up   hype;   from   stoking   fan  rivalries  through  social,  to  enhancing  the  lead  up  experience  on  the  way  to  and  in  the  stadium  through  mobile  and  digital  outdoor  technologies.  However,  it  is  the  immediate    
  7. 7. th 10  October  2012    moments   after   the   event   itself   that   are   often   the   most   social,   as   fans   discuss,   debate  and  relive  the  events  and  drama.  Leveraging  this  innate  desire  to  talk  about  the  event  and   looking   for   ways   to   carry   on   the   conversation   are   key,   as   are   planning   for   the  ‘transitions’   between   events   which   help   build   up   continued   momentum   and   fan  engagement  overtime.      CONCLUSION:  Lessons  learnt  from  these  two  key  principles  will  help  sports  brands  make  the  transition  from  the  attention  to  participation  economy.  By  doing  so,  brands  can  ensure  they  use  digital   to   their   best   advantage,   creating   genuine   value   for   fans,   and   bringing  transformational   value   for   the   wider   business.   Ultimately,   this   will   help   brands   to  guarantee   a   genuine   sporting   ‘Brand   Legacy’   for   their   business   through   sports  sponsorship.      Author:  Andrew  Gregoris,  Senior  Strategist,  SapientNitro