The fight for love is tough. In the world of sports and the entertainment industry brands need to make a difference and be a part of the experience if they want to build up strong relationship to fans that is build on loyalty and love. 

Today, every marketer is forced to be creative to reach in to the heart of the fans. And that is the topic I have talked with Lars Gløjs-Andersen about, who is CEO at Staircase Consulting and former Managing Director at MEC Access, where he was leading the best team of Brand Activation specialist in Denmark. 

“Firstly, we need to understand the fan culture. If we want to engage and get in to the heart of the consumer, real understanding and participation is needed. And the brand must create value by a real fan experience improvement. The brand must be able to create an emotional trigger that keeps in the mind of the fan/consumer, make them remember, make them share, make them laugh or make them interact like they never have experienced before,” explain Gjøls-Andersen.

For many brands and rights holders brand activation is a natural part of the agenda. They plan and execute activities to create engagement, drive growth and build loyalty. And the best reach great results and ROI for benefit of the brand. For mutual benefit.

But in a fast-moving world it can be difficult to prioritize and choose the right way forward. New technologies, the changing media landscape and content consumption is developing faster than ever. And we now all “Go Mobile” as the hook to start our potential relationship. It is obvious, but not easy. The competition is tough and every consumer is bombarded with mobile messages 24/7.

What do you do?
For many marketer’s TV still represents the safe investment in terms of leveraging exposure value. The big rights holders in sports capitalize on big broadcast numbers, but they are few and what about the rest?

“In sports, declining TV ratings represent a long-term challenge and with many sports options on many screens, fans are watching fewer games and quitting them faster. Millennials and Generation X are born digital and stream more often than the traditional aging TV-audience. They use the big social media platforms, e.g. Facebook and YouTube to consume live streams and snack able highlights,” continues Gjøls-Andersen.

It means, that the battlefield is crowded for brands. Every brand wants to be where the users are, but the algorithms are filtering and selecting. We need to allocate budgets and create even more engaging content to get reach and achieve viral effects. Nothing comes more just by posting a piece of content. But the good news is, that if we succeed, the fans will pay back with increased love and loyalty..

Lars Gjøls-Andersen see the following trends as a way forward to bring brands into heart of the fans:

1# Person before phone
Understand the consumer and fan you want to engage. It is about human insights before device functions and features. What do you want to make better before, during or after the game? How can you increase the fan experience? What are fans talking about? What do they share? What is important for them? How is the social community in the different segments?

2# All touchpoints
How can you develop and increase the fan experience in all touchpoints? Can you give the same brand feeling either physical and/or digital channels? Or create better services based on a user journey mind-set?

3# Data is key
Can you use the different touchpoints to capture user data for better understanding of the fan behaviour? Are there new discovered patterns? New insights on preferences or habits?

4# Engaging content
It is not just about creating tons of content. It is about clever development of engaging storytelling that uses the ecosystem of digital media and understands how distribution and timing can accelerate reach and create amazing results.

5# Be part of the culture
All of the above recommendations point to being part of and understanding the given culture. This is the most important key to get success with brand activation. It has to be real, honest and authentic. The fans will judge you.

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