Key points:

• Sports bodies have faced significant and unique challenges in the pandemic including significant hits to bottom line earnings.

• Sporting organizations look to harness the passion at grass roots level to help market their message, but consistency is key.

• Asset Management systems are vital to share and distribute assets between sporting stakeholders.

Reading time: 4 mins.

While 2020 has been an enormously challenging year for all industries across the globe, sport has felt the impact of the pandemic in unique ways. There have been delayed seasons, changes to crowd capacities, restrictions on training and interaction with club staff and support networks. The impact on memberships and sponsorship arrangements has been telling.  Money is tight. Bottom lines have been impacted. Efficient Marketing using leading edge Martech will play a pivotal role as sporting organisations look to emerge from the 2020 fog to engage with their fan bases and leverage sponsorship messaging.

More than ever before, Sport plays a significant role in modern society. It is a crucial touchpoint for communities, harnessing and spreading positivity, enhancing social interaction and uniting people from all walks of life. Accordingly, sports organizations across the globe have recognized the role their businesses play, the complex and significant financial landscape they exist within and the growing importance of how marketing and branding leverages their position in this landscape.

Sportsmont research describes the unique environment of sports marketing as “oriented towards a proactive relationship with customers of products and services, as well as with other stakeholders in order to achieve their main goal and to make loyal and satisfactory ‘consumers’.” The role that clear and consistent branding plays in sports marketing “has great importance for sports organizations, customers, fans, sports clubs, media as well as for the country itself.”

As Kristina Alexiou at MyAdbox Canada observes, sporting organizations face significant marketing challenges at the grassroots levels, “It’s critical for them to maintain the integrity of the brand across all points of interaction together with ensuring consistency in messaging. With so many different stakeholders spread across the nation, only Brand Management software can provide the solution that allows brand compliant localized content within a ‘fenced’ arena. It really is a win for both the brand and its partners.” Alexiou comments that their recently acquired sports industry client – a body interconnected globally and locally - faces some unique challenges, particularly at the coalface with their local markets. She believes that the more tools sporting bodies can equip a grassroots partner with to deliver promotional messages and access brand approved collateral, the better positioned they are to deliver a consistent look and feel.

Educating your grassroot partners about your brand is a critical step in building and maintaining a consistent marketing message. You’re effectively making them advocates that understand all aspects of your brand and proactively promote it in everything they do.”

MyAdbox CEO, Andrew Baker has worked closely with Australia’s leading national sporting bodies recently to engineer a marketing technology solution that will suit their needs. “The grassroots challenges they face are impossible to overcome without a strong Digital Asset Management solution – and that was one of the key things they are missing.” Baker notes that while their main focus has been on asset storage, they also wanted to incorporate their marketing tools into one ecosystem. “This is where our ability to integrate via smart APIs comes to the fore,” he said. “Our Brand Management software plugs straight into their CRM system which optimizes the investment they’ve already made in that technology. And via our Dynamic Content Creation software, we’re able to push brand compliant content directly into all market channels including email and social media.”

Following an audit of their marketing processes, Baker identified numerous layers in their business model;

  • A Head Office Marketing function together
  • Various Internal Head Office operations
  • State level operations
  • Club operations
  • A network of photographers
  • Tier 1 Ad Agency partners
  • A nationwide network of Community Users

“All these stakeholders required a system they could access efficiently to fulfil the different marketing requirements they faced at various times. Those requirements varied considerably from asset upload and asset sharing to having the ability to develop content that represents the brand entirely.”  

Baker also noted the need for seamless SSO (Single Sign On) integration, allowing all parts of the nationwide sporting organisation to use one set of credentials for anything related to their business. “It’s so important to empower the grassroots network of sporting organizations with systems that enable them to contribute to the brand position.”

Alexiou sees this empowerment as fundamental to capturing the passion of local sports people. “One of the biggest assets of a grassroots network is enthusiasm. It’s critical to harness it in the right direction,” she said. “Two of the biggest issues are the lack of insight and familiarity with the overarching brand and the widely varying skills sets of those at the grassroots level in building on-brand content to support their local efforts. This presents sporting bodies with some very tricky challenges.” What Alexiou is referring to here is a paradox of misguided passion. Sports administrations naturally want to leverage every ounce of the grassroots enthusiasm, but they also recognise that there is a very real danger of brand erosion if the content that is produced is poorly executed. “Brand Management Software offers the perfect solution,” Baker says. “Pre-approved creative templates take the pain away for the local operator. They can dive in and create on brand content fast - with no specialized skills or training - without any risk to the brand. Head Office marketing doesn’t have to police the myriad of communications created across the nation which eliminates conflict with passionate supporters of their sporting cause.”

Having the systems in place to deliver on-brand messaging and get that message into market fast has never been more important. There is no question that Brand Management Software is the high-performance solution that will deliver wins for big sporting organizations that rely on the support and passion of their grassroots network.

Image by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash