“Brand engagement is the process of forming an emotional or rational attachment between a person and a brand”
With the advent of digital marketing channels for brand engagement have multiplied exponentially over years. During the 19th century channels for engaging fans were limited to newspapers and lottery tickets at best but in this 21st century social media as a channel for engaging fans have gained prominence over all other traditional channels. Social media has now become virtual sports bar to which fans flock to before, during and after the games.
New communication channels have opened uncharted territories for all the brands especially belonging to sports industry. Let us look at some specific examples how Sporting Brands have not only leveraged these channels of brand engagement for fostering a close relationship with their fans but also for enhancing their commercial opportunities. We will look at 2 case studies on how Sports Brands have used different tactics of Brand Engagement to augment their commercial interests
- FORMULA E
Formula E Championships officially the FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses electric –powered cars. Since its inception Formula E has introduced ‘Fan Boost’- voting contest that gives three drivers in each race a temporary power boost during the course of the race. Fans use specific hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as use the Formula E Website or App to vote for their favorite driver. The highly controversial feature has resulted in increasing engagements and reach, underlining the growing impact and importance of digital media for fan engagement.
FACTS ON DIGITAL FOR FIA-FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIPS
- United Kingdom & USA contribute 45% of the total social media traffic for Formula E mentions
- 2014-15 season of Formula E recorded half a million mentions on social media with twitter contributing the most (82%)
- 25% of the official website visits are redirected towards the sub-domain fiaformulae.com (Alexa.com finding)
- FIA Formula E Facebook page has 172K page likes with an engagement rate of 0.73%
- Formula E Facebook page has an average growth rate of 1.5%
“The fans will be directly involved in the result of the race through social media. “Says CEO of Formula E Championships, Alejandro Agag.
2. Liverpool FC
Franchise / Brands are finding new ways to capitalize on mobile technologies to enhance fan experience in their homes and sports arenas. To optimize fan engagement, Anfield the home stadium offers free Wi-Fi during games which has enabled
- Increasing interactions with official betting partners of Liverpool
- Increased revenue in form of seat upgrades and other purchases
- Free of cost Organic Social Media Promotions by fans in forms of check-ins and photo /video share are opening up new streams for revenue generations.
According to a research, Liverpool FC’s global fan base is expected to be somewhere around 60 million If we track Liverpool FC fan base on social platforms we can deduce that there are 25 Million unique fans.
*Assumption: For Adjusted Social Fan Base we have considered around 20% of the total social fan base as bots & common followers following the club on more than one social media platform and considered rest of the 80% as unique social fan base
Liverpool FC still has 33 Million inactive social media fans which means around 55% of the fan base is untapped on social presenting a huge marketing potential for the club. With scattered and the ever-growing global fan base on social media, traction on social is becoming an essential element of a club’s strategic expansion in terms of revenues and geographies.
We have also identified 4 other use cases of Brand Engagement on Social Media that are being used by Sports Brands for revenue generation
> Major League Baseball franchises in order to enhance customer experience hold online polls across their owned social media channels for suggestions regarding match timing. Apart from revenue maximization such engagements result in increased fan base loyalty and satisfaction levels
> To increase viewer engagements with social media during IPL cricket matches, interactions via polls, hashtag and contests eventuate, resulting in an increased number of website visits
> In 2011, New Devils Jerseys (Ice Hockey Team) launched a social media campaign which resulted in an overall fan base increase of from 100,000 to 170,000, while the twitter followers grew to over 25,000 while their revenues increased over 70% for that year. A somewhat straightforward correlation
> High fan engagements and reach on social media being the primary objectives, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns have at least 18 different Twitter accounts encompassing the whole of their organization, from the team, to players, to dancers, to their PR and web development team, and even one for their mascot which are used not only for engaging fans but also for pushing merchandise of Phoenix Suns. Owing to this Suns have witnessed a double digital % increase in Merchandise Sales during last season.