When it comes to social media, sport has to be one of the coolest sectors to work in. Think about it; famous teams, famous athletes and famous brands, all mixing together offering opportunities to tell fantastic stories, create amazing content and reach loads of passionate fans.
Yep, sports social media marketing is pretty cool.
It’s also a great sector to look at if you’re in need of some inspiration for your next campaign – just think about how Adidas rewrote the rules in 2016 on how a star signing can be announced or, more recently, when Nike took a stand and put the outspoken Colin Kaepernick forward as the face of its brand.
There’s loads to learn from sports social media, which is why we’re so excited to introduce this episode of the show – our guest is John Crozier from We Are Social Sport, who are specialists in sports marketing and creators of some really amazing stuff.
John and our editor Dave chat about where sports marketing is at right now, where it might be going and how it all ties in with social media. They also discuss some of We Are Social Sport’s eye-catching work, which includes that time I mentioned just previously, when Adidas thrust together a footballer and rising underground music star to redefine how to break a big transfer, and how they’re using micro influencers and dark social to build an army of loyal brand ambassadors.
So, sit back and get ready for kick off!
We Are Social Sport was launched in early 2018 and was based off the skillsets within the wider We Are Social team – they’d built up a real specialism and understanding around sports marketing and telling sports stories in an engaging way.
The passion of sports fans is so high that, if you do something wrong, you get found out quickly…you really need to know what you’re doing – especially on social.
We Are Social Sport like to rewrite the rulebook when it comes to sports marketing, as it has become a little tired – sometimes you do see stuff that is templated or just rehashing of old ideas. John says you really need to be smart with what you’re doing.
We Are Social Sport has some killer case studies – first up is the Tango Squad campaign with Adidas.
The whole concept was about being authentic and bringing people into the brand who play football every day and can think about Adidas in a fresh way – they now get to see content first, be involved with brand events, meet players and loads of other great stuff.
Tango Squad FC was one of the first in the growing trend of social football teams and, again, they get access to some amazing brand-related experiences. More importantly, the campaign puts young, relatable fans at front-and-centre.
The other side of the Tango Squad work involves an element of dark social, which has been crucial in building communities and increasing referral rates.
If you’re in marketing you’re aware of the power of dark social.
We Are Social Sport’s other *big* case study was when they hooked up footballer Paul Pogba with musician Stormzy to reinvent how a big transfer is announced.
Normally you just get a bloke with a scarf or signing a contract.
Aside from Adidas, John is also involved with brands like Gatorade and PlayStation. For both of those brands, their involvement is around Champions League activations.
It’s difficult to forecast where things will go – even in the last six months, social has suddenly become a huge player in acquiring sports rights. John thinks social will fundamentally change how people consume sports. Throw into that mix VR and AR, and the opportunities could be endless.
On top of that, you also have the rising influence of individual stars and brands wanting to align with particular athletes, rather than just teams and tournaments.
John’s top three tips for coming up with a match-winning campaign
Get to the core of your audience
Have passionate people on your projects
If you can, try and give yourself time to evaluate your work before you push go
5 apps on your phone you use the most
Gmail, WhatsApp, Instagram, Chess.com and Fantasy Football
4 people you’d like to invite round for dinner
David Chang, Avalon Emerson, Gary Oldman and Arsène Wenger
3 words to describe what it’s like working for We Are Social Sport
Fun, interesting and exciting
2 places/events in the world you’d really love to visit but haven’t been able to yet
Japan and the World Cup Final
1 social media platform you love more than any of the others