The Tripod of Your Community: Brands, Sports and Fans

The more personal the experience, the more likely it is to be shared,”  shared Dan Griffis, the VP Experiential Marketing and Sponsorship for Target.

This is one of the many nuggets of wisdom we took away from this week’s Intersport Brand Engagement Summit conference in Chicago. In sports right now, it’s all about making a more personal brand experience for fans. As we head home from an incredible trip to Chicago, our heads are whirling with all that we learned and experienced.

Personalize the Brand Experience For Fans

One of the main challenges for the Brands is whether or not partnerships, sponsorships and advertising is driving a true meaningful return. For example, how does Stubhub get a better understanding of not only who bought the tickets, but who the person opted to share their ticket with for the event? Or let’s take the Cubs for example. Their audience is a sentimental group who prefers paper tickets, but this gives them no data on who actually showed up to the event. That being said, blanket advertising can work to an extent, but how do the brands and teams work together to reach a fan on a 1:1 level? The ability to reach fans at this level requires a very clear picture of who the fans are. Under Armour, for example, is now taking a tiered approach by no longer doing blanket email campaigns and instead are directing potential customers to download their apps (MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, etc). Once the user is hooked on the app, they will send customized emails to the user later. By getting to know their audience this way, they have a better idea of what other applications, events, etc. the user might be into in the future.  

Capture Fan Data At the Stadium 

However, this doesn’t solve the problem of knowing who is at a sporting event and what their brand experience is while they are in the stadium. NASCAR is a great example. They know the season ticket holder’s rough demographic is typically older white males, but when they installed facial recognition at some of the race tracks, and found they had far more millennials, and far more women than expected. So while they still have some really valuable information, they still don’t have the data they really need to make the experience better. By gating Wifi and integrating with a platform like Umbel, teams and brands can get a very clear idea of who is actually in the seats of the event and not just who purchased the ticket. Data capturing technology is the solution.

As stated by Kevin Plank, CEO and Founder of Under Armour, “A brand is a community.The inability to see the complete picture of the community  makes it difficult to have the personal relationship that teams and brands want at their events, so the trust between these three parts of the community is needed to create the best experience for the fans. We walked away from Intersport buzzing with ideas about how we can help solve this communication barrier and we’re very excited to see how this community grows over time.