When we talk about fan engagement, it’s about not just capturing and harnessing the excitement that surrounds a major sporting event, it’s about how brands can connect with fans in a relevant and seamless manner when they are in the moment.
“In the moment” being when they are watching matches and feeling every emotion of hope and hopefully triumph.
In recent years the pandemic has forced us as marketers to look at new ways of connecting with audiences, especially ways in which we can connect brands with fans at the very moment that they are enjoying these sporting events.
During the pandemic, empty stadiums challenged us as marketeers to see if we could harness the fan rituals, banter and stadium experience and deliver it to the millions of fans watching from home.
Around the world brands looked to capture fan engagement through a variety of initiatives, like the ability for fans to have a life-size cardboard cutout placed in their seat, to scoreboard takeovers, and a variety of tech-led promotional initiatives that allowed fans to get ready for the game and interact with their teams, fellow supporters, and family via specially created apps.
Gamification also played its part by allowing brands to engage with fans prior to or during matches in clever, inclusive, and relevant interactive ways.
The key of course is to think about the fan psyche first and then work backward to create an element of engagement that can involve fans when they are in the moment and not just in the run-up to the games.
Of course, promotion in the run-up to any sporting event is still key in terms of driving sales, however, the ability to cement your brand as part of the moment in a relevant manner allows your brand to be part of the brotherhood that is fan engagement. A deeper, more exciting, and more long-lived emotional connection.
Media sponsorship of any sporting is going to deliver an element of brand building and of course engagement, but with so many options available to marketers today, it doesn’t mean that these executions need to be purely used to build a brand. These media slots are now just an open canvas that can be used to communicate more than just a possibility to win an official team shirt, tickets to the event, or VIP experiences.
For decades brands such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have sponsored events such as the World Cup or the Olympics and they have used a variety of promotional opportunities to engage customers in the run-up to the event such as coin collections, mini shirt collections, official footballs, and even the opportunity for your kids to be official representatives with team walk-ons.
All these mechanics and prizes are still valid today, but technology gives brands the greatest opportunity in terms of interacting with fans during the actual event.
Recently, however, a few brands have changed the way they approach sporting events such as the IPL. Realizing that they can harness fan engagement during the actual events and with the 2021 edition of the tournament generating more than 400 million views on digital platforms, it’s easy to understand why brands want to be part of the “In the moment experience,” as the following benefits can be provided:
- Engagement in real-time, elevating and deepening their bond with the fans.
- Surprising fans by even wanting to enhance their fan experience via technology-led implementations.
- Addition of an additional layer of excitement to the event.
This approach is highly advantageous for brands as not only does it create recall at a larger scale but also stickiness to the property as unforgettable moments are embedded in the consciousness of the audience through secondary gains.
Here at BigCity, we have worked with numerous brands to create bespoke technology-led, engagement-based, and highly-reward-relevant consumer promotions that are constructed using insights from having worked on numerous sporting events including the IPL over the last 15 years.
Last year we were the agency that created the Sunfeast Dark Fantasy ‘Fun Inside’ campaign which was built around fans expressing their passion for the Royal Challengers Bangalore team via AR filters. We also built a cricket game from the ground up for Snickers India, complete with a global leaderboard. For Kingfisher, who are so closely affiliated to the IPL, we built and ran a real-time predict & win game.
These are just a few of the many innovations that our technology team has come up with for brands looking to harness the power of the IPL.
And we are firm believers that we can find the right fan-engagement-led campaign for your brand this IPL. All you need to do is reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively, leave a reply below this post, and our team of experts would be delighted to get in touch as soon as possible to conceptualize, execute, and fulfill the perfect promotion for your brand this cricket season!