The Battle of a Marginal Sport: Rhythmic Gymnastics

After digging deeper and deeper into Marketing I was wondering why the Big 5, Soccer, Basketball,American Football, Cricket and Rugby are so much more present in media and our public life and why they seem so much more popular. There are so many other interesting sports and perhaps even more beautiful sports. With my last post about Social Branding, mainly in Soccer, I realized that other sports are often underrepresented. As I am a Rhythmic Gymnast the marketing inferiority or publicity struck me the hardest. (more…)

Social Branding

Paris St. Germain is willing to pay $18 Million for David Beckham. What they expect from him? It is not just what Beckham can do on the field that attracts the Paris St. Germain, among others, but what Brand Beckham can do off it.

David Beckham signed one of the largest endorsement deals in professional sports, a $160.8 million lifetime deal with Adidas.

So when you think of David Beckham…you automatically think of Adidas. My team member Anika already touched the topic of branding a little and I would like to extend this a bit and concentrate on Social Branding. (more…)

Social TV

Many people love going to the stadium, to watch their favorite team play. All dressed up, with a beer in their hand, flags, scarves and just enjoying the atmosphere of the game. Others prefer to rather stay at home and watch the game on their TV with popcorn and in their warm and cozy living room, without being soaked with beer during the ecstasy of a goal and ending up deaf because of the loud cheering. For the “coach-potatoes” there is a new innovation called Social TV.

What is Social TV?

James Warren describes Social TV as the “ mass online collaborative experienced that occur in real time during TV broadcasts, extending the viewing experience beyond the google box and towards interaction with the social media.”

It is nothing new following a game via Facebook or Twitter. Whether following a game via TV or Livestream doesn’t matter, anymore says Julian Gradke.

The video below is an example of Social TV during the Copa America Soccer Tournament.

According to Julian Gradke, there might be a time when Smartphones and Tablet PC’s completly replace the TV, by simply following the sport over Facebook or Twitter.

New Innovations

An example for Social TV is the Application Zeebox in the UK, presented by Blogger Martin Bryant. Zeebox combines a UK TV guide with social features. You can log in with Facebook and see what your friends are watching and when celebrities talk about a show or program on twitter. Once you tap on the show can see the cast list, the latest tweets and news about it and a chart tracking popularity.

Here the Promo Video of Zeebox:

My opinion

Social TV can be a nice possibility to follow your team and live your passion where ever you are; whether on the train, waiting for the bus etc. But personally I think I wouldn’t be to fond of it. Firstly, because everybody wouldn’t get their nose away from their smartphone or tablet PC and secondly because the relaxation of sitting on the couch and enjoying a nice game of soccer while others are running around like crazy would be lost.

Shorts not Skirts!!

What do you see when you turn on the TV? In Germany it would likely be soccer, in the USA football, baseball, or basketball, and in the UK rugby. Every nation has its own favorite traditional sport, which of course is a good thing. But now, who do you usually see playing these kinds of sport, men or women? Yes, usually it’s men that have the greater media attention. Now, I am neither a feminist nor the contrary, but I thought that this is an interesting fact to investigate. We have heard a lot about marketing and commercialization of sport from my fellow blogger Mirja, and I would like to extend that to the issue of gender equality. (more…)

Social Networks in Sport

While I was busy researching my next blog post about branding in sport I fell over so many discussions about social networks and sport, that I decided to dedicate an own post to that topic and to squeeze in a post about the impact of social networks on sports first.

I would like to refer to Alina’s Blogpost “Social Platforms and Sport” as she introduces the topic Social Networks in Sport, which is a great base for my following blogpost.

Emotionalizing the Sport is the Main Issue

According to Daniel Rehn, in his Blog sportmanager.de, the objective of Social Networks in Sport is to make the athletes and teams reachable, emotionalize and create a familiar atmosphere.

That is the main objective of Social Media; to include the fans into the daily activities of the team and make them feel like they are a part of the team.

Fans are the most important thing for every sport, so the athletes have to attract the fans and give something back to them; an insight into their life, how they train and what motivates them. But embracing themselves can also lead to scandals and of course involvement by the athletes leads to involvement by the fans, not everybody can cope with it. Staying authentic, differentiating oneself from others and staying interesting turns into a game, is said in Daniel Rehn’s post “Die Vier am Eck – Gedanken zu Social Media und Sport #16”.

So the main question, according to Andy Pawlowski, should be: “What is it that we see and hear that we can offer to others so that they connect with us and feel what we feel, even when they aren’t physically with us?”

An astonishing Example

One case really astonished me and gave an insight on how far social media are influencing sport already. According to Daniel Rehn, a mexican first league soccer team replaced the names of their players with their twitter nicknames. Another example is FC Valencia that replaced the logo of a missing sponsor with their Twitter Channel.

Who runs the world?

As I promised last time in my “getting prepared blog” today I will concentrate on the big competition in sports apparel market between the two giants Nike and Adidas. As you might remember I acquired this topic due to the implementation of a new football shoe that led me to a lot of questions. (more…)

Customer-Relationship-Management.. WTF?!

This is more or less a continuation of my previous blogpost about member tracking softwares as I’ve already mentioned CRM (Customer-Relationship-Management) in there. No worries if you have not read that one, I will explicitly discuss in this post what CRM  is, why we need this & I am going to give you some examples. Still the possibility remains that this post will not refer that much to sports, but (thanks to elisa) I thought this topic would be worth a proper explanation.

Now in-depth, what is this? Basically it is all about customers and the management customer relationships in an organized way. The connected documents and administration of customer relations are crucial component and leads to relationship marketing. In many companies relationships among customers and the firm itself are long-term and through CRM they are able to maintain those which lead eventually to a company’s success.

Why CRM?

It all starts with Marketing. You try to get leads and potential customers. After this, Sales follows. And if Sales are done you, as a company, have to provide Services. Now all of the people working in the different sections should be able to access the same information about each customer. This is where CRM steps in and provides every department with an equal database.

How can I do that?

Well, there are several opportunities to implement CRM. Simple but efficient tools that might be familiar to you are Outlook, where you can track e-mails and set up meetings and appointments, and Excel, where you can organize your data and track information or even create a report to measure your sales and marketing.

Still not convinced?

Imagine yourself running a business. Now think if you, as a manager, would think these questions would be relevant:

  1. Where do leads come from?
  2. Who interacts with clients and how?
  3. Are marketing efforts effective?
  4. Are customer service issues resolved promptly?

CRM helps you to answer all of these questions!

Continuance: Marketing in Sport

Scandal is inevitable.

What was inevitable is that the desire to win overrides any ideas of personal or corporate ethics. This need, constantly pushed on athletes, coaches and administrators clouds judgement and justifies appalling behaviors. What was inevitable is that scandalous corruption was coming to sport — because there is too much money, claims James Connor.

According to Connor, Children are plucked from the masses and selected into pathway or talent programs. They end up being coached, trained and played till they either break or make it into an elite team.

Marketing Machine

Winning a premiership guarantees further sponsorship for your team, the brand grows and more money is sucked into the system, says James Connor, and the influence of corporate control and sponsorship, where making money and exploiting your players and fans is the only option, is undeniable.

The commercial potential of sport celebrities is defined by their popular images, drawing from their achievements such as athletic ability and performance. Sponsor organizations therefore associate with the image of the celebrity in the hope that the favorable brand image of the celebrity will rub off on their image, says Ohanian.

Sport Down-Under thinks that a celebrity with multiple sponsors, and all those  sponsors speak to a different target market of those sponsors. If the celebrity manager is smart, they will select sponsors that cover varying demographics. Sport Down-Under states the example : “Guys want to be him, girls want to have him” is always better than “Guys want to be him, girls don’t know who he is.”

Scandal is inevitable

Connor believes that this drive to win, be the best and beat the opposition inevitably leads to temptation. Combine that with the corporate imperative to make a profit – the pressure becomes immense. The spirit of sport is money — gone are the ideals, claims Connor.

As soon as money enters sport we see corruption, whether it is the IOC, rugby league or Twenty20.

How do they promote themselves?

According to Mark, Blogs, SEO, Search and social networks are at the heart of Internet Marketing 2.0, and they can help you promote your business to the masses, a key trait in the world of Social and Business networking.

Lauren Drell claims that another great way to market sport are social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The passion of the fans makes them a perfect audience for Facebook and Twitter— they crave interaction with the team and will gladly engage in  communication. Even if the fans can’t come to a game the person marketing the team should make sure that those who are left at home still feel like they’re in the crowd. There should be a constant update on what the team is doing as well as upcoming events.

My opinion

I believe that social networks are a great way to change and give a certain image to a company. They can “communicate” with certain age groups and target groups and take advantage of the passion of fans for their sport. The popularity of sport is a great stage to market products or services as millions of people watch a high class soccer game or follow their team on Facebook, twitter or on special applications on their cellphones. Athletes become brands…

Nike – More than just a smart running shoe

On August, 31 2008 for the first time thousands of  people in 25 cities put on their running shoes and ran together about 5.113.860 kilometers. They started in Taipei and finished in LA. They were all part oft he human race 10K and ran for one goal and finally for one official destination: Nikeplus.com, writes Wolverine.

Nike+ is not just running with a smart shoe and an iPod as I mentioned in my last blog, BUT Nike+ is about inspiring and connecting runners’ worldwide. “They are offering runners new ways to compete and race. It’s an unprecedented way to bring an entirely new running experience to consumers around the globe”, states Trevor Edwards, Nike Vice President for Brand and Category Management on the blog coyle media.

The power of social networks

Pat Coyle explains if you would join the running community -starting competitions by sharing your running data and experiences with the community- this community provides a valuable experience for you. Every costumer who joins the community is adding value to each member and the brand itself. This is called network effect and means that the Nike community is depended on the number of costumers using it. Because of this valuable experience you unlikely switch brands, means you probably stay with Nike. To switch brands would mean leaving your friends behind. The more people join, the more likely a bandwagon effect is created, since more value is added to the community and finally to you.

The community developed into an asset not just for the costumers, but also for the company itself. Thus, Nike has gained valuable Market shares since the last years, as Amy Calistri suggests, because of a stronger brand loyalty towards Nike.

Challenges in the Asian Market

The author of the blog New Views argues that difficulties arise when entering a new market. In Asia for example running is not very common. The target consumers never see it as something they enjoy doing. It’s something very rigorous and painful for them.

Running doesn’t come with spectators

Many people in China living in huge cities crowed by cars, bikes, and rickshaws and on the other hand running cannot provide spectators like basketball and football. Therefore Nike has to find a way to give people in China social currency, that people are worshiped by their friends and in my point of view the Nike+ campaign could help a lot there.

Create a momentum and carry it forward

As the author points out with a quotation of Ms. Huang (Nike’s communications director for Greater China) the company is very confident with the future prospects concerning the chinese market, because there is a positive perception about running right now in China. Nike is certainly aware of the fact that running just will remain a niche sport in China, but hopefully a lot of people become interested and just give it a try.

And maybe there comes the time, were all these people are participants of the –now- annual Human Race by Nike.

Continuance: Money and Commercialization in Soccer

Whether buying a whole Premiere League Soccer Club for 136 Million Pounds, earning 23.2 Million Pounds salary per year or being considered worth more than 90 Million Euros…In soccer we talk about the most incredible amounts of money.

Already commercialized in the past?

According to Gabriel Kuhn, many leading clubs were exploited by companies and factory owners, at least for prestige. So the increasing commercialization in the twentieth century was not a result of an external force but of intrinsic logic.

Kuhn claims, that over the last twenty years, the commercialization has taken on momentum. Champions leagues, multi billion dollar TV contracts, celebrity players, a ruthless merchandising industry that doesn’t stop selling and marketing corporate-sponsored jerseys are all an expression of this.

Soccer: Show Business?

Dirk Zingler, President of Union Berlin emphasizes this; “Flag wavers, cardboard clappers and goal music- football has become show business.”

As Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC is quoted from the IOC website, “Without the support of the business community, without its technology, expertise, people, services, products, telecommunication, its financing — the Olympic Games…cannot happen. Without this support, the athletes cannot compete and achieve their very best in the world’s best sporting event.” This can be transferred to all the other sports as well and every sport has its price usually it is advertising, which makes it possible for companies to identify themselves with a certain club, for example, and appear to a certain target group as well as publicize themselves. http://www.olympic.org/

According to Mark Fisher, quoted by blogger Ben Jeffrey, the price of success just is the ballooning wages, the de-nationalization, the conspicuous consumption of the top-class players and the ruthlessness of clubs where loyalty counts for little if it doesn’t pay.

Exploitation or Benefit? 

The commercialization of football has yielded immense benefits for fans, in terms of infrastructure, quality of play and global coverage to cover the passion for their loved sport, claims Ben Jeffrey.

The number of wireless smartphone owners, who have downloaded an app nearly doubled in the past two years, from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011, with sports apps belonging to the most common downloaded apps, believes Hugh Thompson.

Given this rapid adoption of smartphones by average consumers, Pat Coyle was curious to see if social sports fans were adopting smartphones at similar rates. Turns out they’re not. Sports fans adopting smart phones much faster the mainstream average. In some cases, 9 of 10 fans already have smartphones. So for any sports marketer who didn’t get out of bed this morning thinking about smartphones should take this as their wake up call, says Pat Coyle.

One example, named by Samantha Goldberg, is the ESPN ScoreCenter an app that had about 1.7 million daily unique visitors in the past three months.

My opinion

These apps might cost little, but they sum up to amazing sums. I must admit that I have quite some on my phone as well. The marketing strategies and the merchandising strategies used by sport clubs and federations can be considered perfectionised. There is nothing we can’t get today; soccer apps, playstation games to simulate a mangers life or the life of a celebrity soccer player…there are no limits.