How Sports Brands Are Using Stars And Social Media


Collaborations with sports figures have long been a method of effectively influencing audiences on what’s cool and what’s not.

Sports collaborations between an athlete or a sports team with a brand or company, like other channels, have adapted and incorporated the digital aspects of the ever changing marketing landscape to remain effective.

Many of the same tried and true sports marketing strategies remain relevant, but with an updated approach.

Product Placement

Product placement is one of the oldest marketing techniques in the book. Collaborating with a well respected athlete to wear your clothes on the field, at a match or while they train has helped many brands draw much needed exposure to their product offerings.

Ensuring this collaboration gets as much exposure as possible for your spend, it’s important to bring this partnership to where your audience is. 

As well as advertising your partnership on traditional channels like TV or radio, look to actively share assets related to this collaboration on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other digital channels where your target audience is active.

Don’t overdo it by sharing your message on every marketing platform out there, but fine tune your focus to include channels where your audience is engaged and ready to share your messaging. Dive into your metrics using Google Analytics, Omniture or whatever measurement tool you’re currently using to best determine where your sports marketing efforts should be upgraded to further spread the buzz.

For example, the professional boxer Miguel Cotto helps activate his partnerships with brands by sharing assets, like the photo below, highlighting his collaborations on Twitter and Facebook, where his fans and followers are most active online. As the brand, work with your partners to encourage this type of promotion on their own networks for greater reach and engagement. 


Personal Branded Voice

Today’s digital platforms allow for targeted advertising, much more relevant to the consumers seeing your ads and as a result more effective. Billboards, TV commercials and other traditional methods of advertising often need to remain broad in their messaging to stay relevant to their wide range of viewers.

With display ads, Twitter promoted tweets, targeted Facebook posts or any other form of highly targeted digital advertising, marketers can look to improve the promotion of their sports collaborations with more personalised messaging to their audiences. Since the audience that the ads are reaching are of relevance to the sport or athlete, use a more personal voice in your brand message.

Using personal branded voice on Facebook and Instagram is one easy way to truly connect with your audience about your existing partnerships. Most of the time, only fans interested in your athlete or brand will see your content on Facebook or Instagram since it’s their choice to follow you or not, giving you the opportunity to connect with your real brand advocates. 

Boxer Floyd Mayweather did just this on his Facebook, Instagram and blog by highlighting a photo of his team training and wearing sponsored apparel, while using the text “The Money Team hard at work.” This personal tone is believable and trustworthy, which resonates more effectively with your audience as compared to typical advertising taglines. A trustworthy tone with your audience helps to strengthen your relationship with them as the athletes sponsor helping further your promotion to the next level. 

Mixed Media

Like I mentioned before, traditional advertising channels are still an effective means of promoting your sports partnerships. Many brands have disconnected marketing efforts and are truly missing out on the benefit of multi-channel campaigns. To ensure these partnerships remain hard-hitting, mix in digital components to these campaigns to help extend their reach in each channel.

According to a study by Accenture, U.S. consumers are highly receptive to social media integrations on TV. If Facebook like buttons, Twitter handles, hashtags and other social features are incorporated into TV programming and advertising, consumers are more likely to connect with your brand on these platforms.

One way to mix media for your sports marketing collaborations is to include the Twitter handles of your athletes in your promotional video content, whether the videos appear on YouTube, TV or both. Audiences are more likely to connect with people as opposed to brands, which is why sponsored athletes are important advocates of your brand. Strengthening your athletes digital footprint can only help expand the reach of your partnerships. 

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