“That was the challenge we faced, making the experience around sporting events we were involved with as inclusive as possible, and I don’t know if we’ve really been successful with that either,” said Ian Grundy, head of Marketing and Communications, Adecco Asia Pacific.
During a panel discussion at the Sports Matters conference in SIngapore, Grundy shared that as an organization without “deep pockets”, the approach to fan experience took on a broader scope.
“We took the experience bit as the lead up to an event or series and the time after, so we found that a more effective way to be more inclusive was to activate around an event and plant seeds at every stage across the process,” he added.
Grundy also shared that the company’s own staff was another untapped resource, involving them in sponsored events or activities offered an opportunity to involved with their audience and become advocates.
Mark McFarlane, vice president for APAC & Middle East at Fox International Channels agreed that while not everyone can be present at a sporting event, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for brands to tell stories around that event.
“First understanding what fans want to hear about what happens on-ground can add value to your storytelling. For example at the recent Wimbledon finals, that was the first time we had a social media person on-site to keep fans connected with what’s happening outside the action on the court,” he said. “Apart from sharing stories and interviews, it’s also a great space to get fans connected and we saw a 87 per cent increase in Facebook viewership.”
McFarlane highlighted one recent execution, which he believes should serve as a benchmark of adding value to the fan experience and leveraging the second screen.
“We worked closely with Rolex to do an F1 app for the Asian market where they can choose from seven different angles from the track to view the race from. This way fans are in control of what they want to see and it adds positivity to a brand as well,” he added.
A Rugby Sevens case study
For Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship for HSBC, sports sponsorship still needs to be about the live game.
He said too many brands still see sponsorship as a media buy when it really should be about engaging with customers and meeting business objectives. “When I look around at this market and compare it to North America and Europe, I still feel we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “At HSBC we run broad activation programs and that’s the model sponsors and rights holders need to look at.”
Commenting on the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, which HSBC sponsors, Morgan said it is a well thought of activation where the objective is to look after clients and give them a proper experience.
Success, for Rugby Sevens, includes a number of metrics such as client engagement scores and less tangibly business advancement.
Morgan praised Samsung when asked which brands are getting it right. He commended the company’s use of digital to highlight its association with the Rugby Football Union. “I enjoy consumer focused brands that are putting it out there to get sales.”