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…)

Advertisements

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…)

My First Steps

When I heard that we have to create a blog, I was very enthusiastic about the topic sport and was very happy that our group has so many different people and different Sport interests.

Stumbling along the way

After I started my first topic with Commercialization and Money in Soccer, I realized that I have a passion for Marketing. I decided to move away from my first ideas and dug a little deeper into the topic of Marketing. I have always wondered why Rhythmic Gymnastics is not as popular as Soccer? Are Gymnasts worse athletes? Are they not as dedicated? I think it is not just a matter of a large fan base…it is a matter of Marketing.

So I started to randomly search the internet, whether webpages or blogs, to get an idea of the dimensions of Marketing and saved all the interesting posts and ideas on Evernote.

Fighting Fears

In the beginning I was rather scared that I wouldn’t find any links to IT, but after researching my first few blogs and gaining a certain basis of knowledge on the topics, I realized that Social Media are one of the greatest Marketing tools today. As social media enables fans to really live their passion and follow the news and day-to-day activities not only about TV or Radio, but can even connect to them via Facebook or Twitter. It is a completely new dimension…

Getting the Link

So thats what my next post is going to be about. I came to Social Media in sport after I found a great blog, treating only topics in Marketing and Social Media in Sports. I found the blog after reading an interview with the author that immediately caught my attention.

The blog sportmanager.de has been a great innovation to my research work and got me so interested in Marketing and Social Media, that I couldn’t stop continue reading the posts. The blog led my to other blogs and twitter accounts that had amazing ideas on Marketing in Sports and especially concerning Social Media.

Future Out-sights

For the blogs after Social Networks in Sports I plan to stay in the Marketing Sector and perhaps get a little more into my sport, Rhythmic Gymnastics, and perhaps compare it to other sports and why such a beautiful sport is so underrepresented…

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.

What are you wearing tonight?

If I think about my favourite soccer team or the basketball team I like most, I have a picture of them in my head. First, I see their faces and then I see big lettering across their chests. But it’s neither their names nor their teams’ name but it is advert lettering. This leads me to a topic I would to discuss today:

Advertisement in sports and the “big business” involved with it

Swedish confectionery company Cloetta, signed only 2 weeks ago a multi-year sponsorship with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC). This makes Cloetta an official team sponsor of the SOC and gives them exclusive confectionery rights for the period of the deal.
So, what is the reason for the producer of the largest single confectionery product in Sweden to conclude such a contract?

“The world of sports is by itself a very profitable business”

Sandie gochargers blog claims that “The world of sports is by itself a very profitable business”. Further they state that there is a lot of money involved in that sector and that there are various sources of money. But the largest amounts of money are derived from advertising, they argue. As there are a large number of sports events that are broadcasted on television, one can easily address his/her adds to a very large audience.
Sandie gochargers contends that people are confronted with advertisement on television during match broadcasting breaks which they could maybe only escape by switching channels.
But there are not only television adds, but advertisement all over the place, they complain. They quote opinions, stating that making money in this sector has become more important than the actual match and its transmission itself. Sandie gochargers considers this a fair argument and in addition they remark that sports broadcasting hours were adapted to advertiser’s demands. American baseball was formerly played and shown on TV in the afternoon but in order to comply with well paying advertiser’s demands, broadcasting hours were shifted to night hours, the author(s) explain(s).

FC Barcelona reorganizes handling of jersey printing

They conclude that ads are a very important part of sports as they bring a lot of money to the different sports clubs and organizations involved with sports. And it seems to them as if it was hard for such organizations to resist to the temptation of money, “especially in these hard times when sports are really stuck”. They contend that even soccer club FC Barcelona only recently signed now a 30 million € worth sponsor contract. The soccer team used to be one of the few top level soccer clubs that did not have sponsor names on their jerseys but the UNICEF logo but this organization did not have to pay any money to the club.

So, coming back to Swedish confectionery company Cloetta, we can now imagine how BIG the deal they got actually is: the Olympics are a worldwide event and the Games are not only broadcasted nationally but internationally means a lot more attention that is drawn on the company. And not to forget about the fact that now they are able to address also sports they did not concentrate on before. In the past they have been a sponsor of the Swedish national alpine ski and national handball teams.

Walking Billboards or earnest next generation of talent?

Cloetta’s Business Development Director Tony Wiréhn says: “This joining of forces with the Swedish Olympic Committee will strengthen Cloetta and Kexchoklad® since it gives us the right to use the Swedish Olympic themes in our marketing. And having the opportunity to create two Olympic products by labeling the products with the SOC emblem or giving them specially designed Olympic packaging is naturally a further advantage”.
Stefan Lindeberg, chairman of the SOC adds that the SOC wants to open the door for more talents and give them the chance of becoming global sports elite and Cloetta will now be an important partner in order to meet this goal.

This finally leads me to a number of questions:

Do you think that the athletic focus has shifted away from sports, towards the focus on promoting other companies and products? Distraction during matches?

Are the sponsors promoting the athletes and encourage new generations to become athletes or do athletes promote organizations and encourage people to buy products?

Social Platforms and Sports


 ‚Robbery‘ was the caption of a picture of the Allianz Arena posted by a friend of mine on Facebook. Even though I am not interested in football at all I now knew there is going to be a game and Bayern München would play. That was when I started to think what an important role social networks play in the sports world nowadays. (more…)