Jonathan Lowe, Senior Vice President, Marketing, AEG Sports, discussed how organizations can build “fan avidity” during his keynote address to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2016 Leadership in E-Commerce Forum in Los Angeles on Sept. 8. In his presentation, “The LA Kings – Content Is the New Language of Marketing in Sports,” Lowe explored how content-centric marketing can deliver long-lasting results for an organization — even the Los Angeles Kings.
So what does it take to leverage content-centric marketing? According to Lowe, the Kings first embraced the slogan “We Are All Kings,” which highlighted the diversity of the Los Angeles fan base and helped foster meaningful connections between fans and the team.
“While the slogan itself is not revolutionary, the spirit behind it, and the intention behind it has rung true for us, our fans and our organization,” Lowe stated. “We wanted to put everyone on an equal playing field.”
Lowe noted the Kings wanted to get fans to connect with players beyond the box score as well. And with a content-centric marketing approach, the Kings were able to accomplish this goal.
“Content is how we’ve really chosen to engage our fans, and it’s content that they’re not just seeing on the ice,” Lowe said.
A clear mission statement empowered the Kings to build trust with fans. Furthermore, the Kings used images of both fans and players in its marketing efforts to illustrate how both fans and players are involved in the community.
As part of its content-centric marketing, the Kings showed how attending Kings games could prove to be a fun-filled experienced for fans of all ages, too.
“Content is how we’ve really chosen to engage our fans, and it’s content that they’re not just seeing on the ice.”
The Kings also was able to use its slogan as part of a Twitter hashtag, ensuring fans could share their thoughts on their game day experiences and connect with one another quickly and easily.
“It’s not what ‘We Are All Kings’ meant to us,” Lowe stated. “It’s what ‘We Are All Kings’ was starting to mean to our fans.”
The Kings’ content-centric marketing has guided its efforts across multiple social networks as well.
In the past, many sports teams would use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to share stats with fans. Conversely, the Kings created a personality around their social efforts, enabling the team to engage fans like never before.
“Most organizations struggle to create a personality around their social accounts,” Lowe noted. “People don’t want to follow organizations. They want to follow individuals.”
The tenets of the Kings’ social media efforts included:
- Creating an experience that engages fans with wit, humor and personality.
- Delivering more than team statements.
- Engaging fans in conversations.
- Building key digital relationships with online ambassadors.
With their social media campaigns, the Kings were able to differentiate themselves from other sports teams as well as showcase the true value of social media to build fan avidity.
“We still maintain that spirit of wanting to reply to fans and connect [with them],” Lowe said. “[Social media] is not just a broadcast medium. It’s a medium of interaction.”
Although social media offers many opportunities for marketers, there are risks involved with it as well.
“People don’t want to follow organizations. They want to follow individuals.”
Sports fans often identify with their favorite teams, Lowe noted, and the use of social media helped the Kings provide fans with a new tool that they could use to connect with the team from any location, at any time.
Ultimately, the Kings were able to provide a voice to their fans thanks in part to content-centric marketing. The Kings’ content-centric marketing efforts remain ongoing, and the team constantly explores innovative ways to engage its fans day after day. By doing so, the Kings are able to connect with fans and promote their brand.
In addition, a content-centric marketing strategy should contain more than just the content that an organization produces. This plan also should incorporate fan-generated content, as fans serve as key proponents of an organization and can help further promote a brand worldwide.
“On the marketing side, it’s way more compelling to hear what fans are saying about you than what you’re saying about yourself,” Lowe pointed out.
Lastly, the content that an organization provides should deliver value to fans; otherwise, an organization that fails to provide engaging, relevant content risks alienating fans and losing them to rivals.
And if an organization can leverage all of the content at its disposal — including user-generated content — it may be better equipped to stand out in a highly competitive global marketplace, regardless of industry.
“Content is a mix of what we create and what’s created by others,” Lowe said. “In sports, we adjust to the narrative that we all build.”
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