Conventional ways to approach customers are no longer effective. Social media has created a space for true dialogue and expression, an opportunity that can’t be ignored by brands. Now that the landscape has changed, brands are finding their path and step by step are starting to discover more positive and innovative ways to connect with fans and costumers.
These new forces are positively affecting the world of sports and brands are increasingly realising that they need to talk about things that happen in-real time and are of interest to their fans.
Sports and sporting events specifically create a strong emotional involvement as they incorporate elements that allow the viewer to immerse themselves completely in the experience. Unpredictability and tension; a mix of positive and negative feelings; a sense of belonging and connection to community; self-identification. This provides an enjoyable distraction from real life which social media users often seek.
Knowing this, brands will place stronger focus on the sport and events sector with larger companies organising their own events to create unique content. In addition, they will have to be consistent and create daily content across their platforms that ensures the experience is not broken.
And this leads to the main challenge brands are experiencing. The difficult question of “What to post that no one else has posted yet?”
Traditional agencies are still struggling with the issue of producing content quickly as their lengthy processes ensure control and quality, but with the expense of a quick audience response. This is a job for a highly creative and pro-active team, proficient in design or one have the ability to generate relevant ideas and quickly deliver them. Most of the time ideas can’t be executed in a second, social media agencies often need to prepare for the different scenarios that may emerge, so their content will be the first to be delivered and therefore generate higher impact.
— adidasfootball (@adidasfootball) July 13, 2014
Not all scenarios can be predicted, however. Often brands need to be quick to produce creative content after unexpected and unpredictable events. Being first is what matters as competitors are never too far behind. This was the case of Snickers taking advantage of the Luis Suarez biting incident. Not only did the confectionary brand react quickly, but also the context fitted perfectly with their existing brand communications. Other competitors who followed later didn’t get the same engagement even though their posts were more elaborative and creative:
— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014
We were also able to replicate this success using the same principles of timing and relevancy. The following post for one of our clients, @fantasyleague was unique and didn’t lead with brand messaging, but instead used story-telling.
— Fantasy League (@fantasyleague) June 25, 2014
In the world of social media it doesn’t matter whether you are a big or small company. Anyone can take advantage and foster a strong brand presence. It just takes the right strategy and execution to create engaged communities and thus turn followers into brand ambassadors.
The quicker brands become in generating creative pieces of content, the more engagement they get from they will get from their ever demanding fans. When you then add in the possibility of ‘brand influencers’ amplifying the reach of posts beyond the existing brand followers, then the prize gets bigger faster.
There is no other part of the marketing mix that allows fans and customers to consume real-time content and engage with the brand to ‘co-create’ additional content that aids to a campaign. As more and more brands turn to social media to leverage their messaging, the amount of noise in the channels is higher than ever and the summarising question is, how can you create unique and timely content that cuts through so that you are heard?
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