It’s hard to imagine that not long ago social media was largely texts and links. It was easy – a big announcement, a trade, a milestone – throw out a link and the job was done. Later, you dropped in a photograph from Getty and it felt fine.
Then came increasingly sophisticated graphics, GIFs, short-form video, long-form video, Photoshopped pics, and combinations of all of the above. For digital and social media, it has become just as much about creative chops as it is about community management, engagement, and brand. Even if that graphic or GIF that took a creative specialist hours to create is viewed by fans for just a second as they scroll, it’s expected and it’s a part of conveying the brand, the look, the feel, and the, well, coolness factor a bit.
Every team and organization has adapted a bit differently, depending on size, resources, and the direction upon which leadership has steered the evolution of roles in production, design, digital, and social. It is more siloed for some – wanting to maintain a certain standard of graphics and videos; while others have split the duties a bit more whether by finding versatile individuals that can do social and creative, or leaving the bigger jobs to the creative team and the day-to-day content to the digital crew.
Regardless of the setup, however, the sheer tonnage of content has certainly added a great of strategy when it comes to creative.
It’s not always an agency-like process of: project, design brief, specs, description, deadline. Sure, if you’re planning a campaign or promotion weeks in advance, that process still works, but it’s more about continuing to add to the arsenal and getting more efficient each and every time the design team hits export.
Unless a team has endless staff and resources (huh?), the design team now must think about a) How can this graphic or GIF be designed so that it can be re-used and repurposed, for another play or player?, b) What treatments or elements can be saved for future use on other designs?, and c) How can this awesome design be created so that someone lacking the proficiency of a design pro change out text or an image or add a video, so that the standard of quality of the team’s output remains high without the design team needing to lift a finger?
The more time you spend in digital and social, in sports or otherwise, the more you start to notice those efficiencies. Maybe a GIF used for the draft can be tweaked to be used for big plays or scoring plays next season, let alone constructing the GIF in the first place in a manner such that it can be easily repurposed for other players (sounds simple, but not all practice this). Heck, maybe you’re an under-resourced team where there is no full-time design team and it falls on the digital, the marketing, the broadcast, the CR staff to do the best they can. This is where a solid template or app can go a long way in making a team look much bigger and feistier than it really is.
Whats the takeaway here? It’s to inject a strategic mindset into the design and production team. Let them know it can be okay for someone that doesn’t have a degree in a creative field to produce something, especially if it’s just tweaking or changing out something the professional producers did create.
The demand for content is only growing and it’s important to establish what kind of content the digital and social team should be able to produce (i.e. just about anyone can create a slo-mo, black and white video with music of players arriving for the game), what kind of content can and should be templated, and make sure the creative team keeps this all in mind before they hit export.
No team will tell you they have enough staff, enough time, enough resources – but it’s the ones that are efficient and strategic that look like they have an army in there. The prefix ‘strategic’ is becoming almost a prerequisite for every position these days, and perhaps no part of a team is that more important than in creative production.
Want to talk about your digital and social strategy? Contact me