Top 10 Guide

We have developed the following strategies as a guide, to help teams and clubs strengthen their brand engagement in the local community. These are based on our experience and understanding of the stakeholders and regional nuances involved.

  1. Messaging – plan a strategic hierarchy

Be sure to really understand your audience parts, in order to use the most appropriate language and messaging to secure their interest. Using an ‘all action sport’ headline for example, will appeal to die hard sports fans, but the rest of the communication needs to be layered to reach out to your other audience segments with offerings such as family seating, parking and food and catering facilities or even half time entertainment. Set out a hierarchy to follow.

2. Relevance – keep it regional

Keep all your communications regionally focussed. For example; leverage the landmarks, attractions, events and traditions that locals know and love. Building on the strong connections they have already developed will serve to create or strengthen their affinity with your brand.

3. Timing – leverage key periods of opportunity

Identify the key periods of opportunity in your calendar. Then leverage them to theme your communications and activities. For example, if you are fortunate enough that the majority of your games fall in the school holidays, specifically create themed offers, such as ‘Liven up your school holidays, come and experience all action T20 cricket this Tuesday. Under 16’s free with a full paying adult.’ Similarly create a tailored plan to harness the Easter, Christmas and Winter breaks.

4. Stars – hero the team and players

Your team and players are local sources of inspiration, so creatively hero them in your communications. Make them figureheads and tell their stories; who they are, their passions and inspirations, what their specialisms are etc. Even promote their twitter feed to raise their profile, helping to make them iconic for the club. Recognising and appreciating the local talent that the club represents will serve to elevate your profile.

5. Fans – use existing real fans

Leverage the love that is already out there and use your existing fan base to help promote the club. Communications with them could be used to help shape how you attract new supporters. Ask them for their opinions, thoughts and soundbites and with their permission, use these in your campaigns. We have even gone as far as to feature them in a photoshoot for a campaign and all it cost was lunch and a few free tickets!

6. Fixtures – focus on the quieter games/matches

Understanding that most clubs have their schedule laid down by a governing body, the selection of dates is out of your hands. The weekend derby games will effectively sell themselves, so plan to focus on your quieter mid-week games, which will have lower attendance. These are games to promote with ticket offers/giveaways.

7. Sponsors – be smart with how you leverage your sponsorship

Dependent on the size of your sponsor organisations, their staff and customers will provide audiences, for whom you can tailor offers to encourage trial and attendance. Create exclusive rewards such as discount codes for premium seat tickets and competitions to win the opportunity to meet the captains or to flip the coin. These should be different for each sponsor, adding unique incremental value to their commitment to you.

8. Associations – create unofficial local associations

Create or strengthen relationships with local shops and businesses to support your club. We recently did this to form an unofficial ‘Proud Supporter’ programme for a club in Bristol. We then produced door stickers and bunting for free for the local shops and gave store owners a pair of free tickets to one of the quieter games, which they could either use themselves or pass on to their best customers.

9. Partners – build partnerships within other local sport organisations

If you have other types of sporting clubs with venues nearby, consider establishing a reciprocal partnership, whereby you give their fans an offer to attend one of your games in return for promoting their matches where relevant. We recently found this to work well for a cricket team that we partnered with local football and rugby clubs.

10. Pipeline – use current engagement to lock-in the next

Plan to engage the fans at your current game, to come to the next one and so on. Do this by considering simple offers that require booking that day (or within a limited time), promoted for example, at half time, also using posters and flyers handed to them as they exit, to take home as a reminder.

If your current plan for the club is not working hard enough – to grow your brand profile locally, drive ticket sales or whatever – we’d love to support you!

Email bryony@grandc.co.uk or call 0208 546 0150