8 Observations and Lessons in Digital and Social Marketing Strategy

Marketing is much more than Mad Men these days. Sure, a good story still matters. But if it’s not backed up by sound digital strategy, strong social media content – paid and organic, analytics to measure and adjust, and documented processes to allow marketing last beyond campaigns and management turnover – then even the strongest stories can fall short of delivering success.

During my recent foray into digital and social consulting, I’ve encountered different business practices and challenges, both from clients I’ve worked with directly and others I’ve observed or actively encountered along the way, and over the years at my last job – working with several dozen clients of varying scale and sophistication. I’m no expert, let alone anything resembling a guru or ninja, but here I discuss a few lessons I’ve learned about the areas businesses of any size can heed as they seek to optimize and develop their own digital and social strategy.

  1. We’ve always done it this way

There is almost always going to be resistance to change. But if a system seems to rely a bit too much on plugging holes with manual workarounds, it may be time to question. Or if an office manager is the only one that really knows how something works (and the company may just be screwed if he/she was gone tomorrow), it may be time to question. If there are questions you wish you could answer and have a sneaking suspicion others can, it may be time to question. It’s hard enough to run a business every day, while evaluating how replicable, cohesive, and documented one’s systems are, but don’t let inertia preserve a status quo that isn’t as good as it could be and should be.

2. Benchmarking

We have data, great! We can track key metrics like click-through rates, reach, engagement, conversions, conversion rate, and all that fun stuff. So, are these numbers good? Sure, you can try to look up industry benchmarks, see what comes up in a Google search of recent articles and blogs, but the most important benchmark is your own. And to benchmark your data requires not just measuring metrics today, but making sure you can quickly, easily ,and effectively compare it to last year, last quarter, and to this ad or that post in a similar context. We may focus on delivering reports period to period, but if you’re not benchmarking, it’s pretty much impossible to discern whether you’re performing well or not, whether you’re getting better or getting worse.

3. Thinking single touch

These ads delivered no conversions – what went wrong? For years, we blindly accepted the practice of spending money on billboards, radio and TV ads, magazine and newspaper ads, and, later, digital banners and then social ads. But, with the exception of straight coupon / discount offers, rarely could these marketing efforts be traced all the way to a monetary conversion. If it was a multi-touch world the last several decades, today’s consumption-heavy era can involve even more touch points before a consumer is ready to buy. And digital and social ads, in particular, see consumers at all points in the funnel, many of which can be led down the funnel to that last click or that conversion. It’s okay for a “conversion” to not involve a sale – it can be a video completion, a form or contest entry, or just engagement with a post. It’s not typically single touch and that’s not only ok, it’s often expected.

4. Having paid and organic social working in silos

Buying and optimizing social and digital ads is not easy. It involves knowing (and keeping up with) the small and not-so-small changes that seem to occur with the platforms, targeting options, and tactics every day, and making adjustments to copy, creative, audiences, keywords, and placements to deliver the best results. For this reason, many small-to-medium businesses and teams will enlist an outside agency to take of their digital marketing. Meanwhile, the organic social, digital, and email content is usually produced and handled internally. Having these teams in silos eliminates some of the sweet synergies of aligning and working together – sharing and creating content that can and should be used in ads, having a strategy to post dark or boost posts, using the data and learnings from both paid and organic to inform and improve the content strategy on each side, and so much more. It’s not easy and, in many cases, it’s far cheaper on the surface to pay an agency than to hiring a full-time employee, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay to accept silos.

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5. Naming conventions

This is not just a pet peeve, but a potential obstacle to organizing data to drive actionable insights. Clean data means naming conventions, and better naming conventions allows for far more effective analysis on the back end. There’s a reason Google has their UTM parameters in place – so digital marketers can track every link down to the campaign, creative, and copy. Likewise for social media ads, if campaigns, ad sets, and ads have arbitrary names, it won’t be too efficient when evaluating ad performance over time that ‘Ad 3’ performed best last quarter, while ‘Ad 6b’ performed best the same quarter last year. You can do the legwork to look it up, but a strong, organized nomenclature is pretty much a necessity these days of big data, and allows for consistency over time as people, roles, and platforms change.

6. Overthinking content

Say the word ‘content’ and some will run away screaming. Sure, the thought of producing content for so many platforms in so many forms, multiplied by days, weeks, and months can be freakin’ frightening. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a worthwhile business, you’re providing value to consumers or fans in some way. You have the ability to earn the attention of your customers and prospects by leaning into content that’ll make them smarter, make them laugh, make them feel something, or make them empathetic. Be a thought leader – curate and share knowledge; be a friend – share something that’ll make your customers smile because it resonates with who your customers are; tell me about people like me – share stories of your customers and lessons learned or ideas they try. And don’t be afraid to repurpose and repost! A video can beget a blog post can beget a quote or stat graphic can beget a poll can beget a blog post summarizing poll results can beget UGC and so on. And don’t whip out a camera or bring in a video producer to create a single video for a single content piece – instead of shooting for two minutes for one piece, shoot for 12 minutes and get a whole lot more, so you won’t have to touch a camera for weeks or months. Content does take work and does take strategic forethought, but it doesn’t have to be hard as we make it out to be.

7. Underthinking content

The other side of the spectrum when it comes to content should be avoided, too. Don’t post or send content just to post or send content. There should be a why and it’s always helpful to take a step back, put yourself in the shoes of the scroller, and think if it’s truly something would slow your scroll or something you want to consume or engage. Every piece of content, email, ad is an opportunity to strengthen your brand and credibility, or to weaken it. The attention of consumers is also not something to be taken for granted. Give content the thoughtfulness and quality your fans, your customers, and your future customers deserve

8. Put the *action* in actionable data

You have data to review, awesome! But don’t just look at it, and then go about business as usual. Learn from it – insights should often lead to action, if you’re not uncovering insights, you’re probably not asking the right questions of your data or looking at it in the right way. It’s not easy to take the time to think through and execute changes, but that’s the point of the data – to justify and assure the effort taken to deviate from the status quo. When reviewing performance metrics, make sure to answer the ‘So what?’ and follow that with ‘So then let’s try this.’ Don’t force strategic overhauls, but don’t sit back when the data is telling you to move.

9. The fallacy of relying on ‘best practices’

Ok, a bonus one to tie much of this together: the fallacy of overly relying on best practices.

A funny thing about ‘best practices’ – once they become best practices, everyone using best practices has regressed to the mean. Another thing about best practices – they’re at best a guide, far from a prescription. Spend less time studying best practices and more time testing, measuring, and benchmarking with your audience (or that of your competitors/peers), and studying and evaluating their engagement and consumption habits. There is a whole lot of variety among the businesses and brands utilizing digital and social media marketing, and thinking there is a uniform set of practices that are optimal for them all is not the foundation upon which to form a strategy.

It’s easy to get stuck in a tunnel of just keeping up every day and sometimes impossible to see, or take the time to look for, areas to improve and insights to uncover. Sometimes it takes a different set of eyes, or the courage to ask and attack the difficult questions. There will be wins and there will be the losses, but once you get in the game, you’ll have far more control of the outcome, able to veer toward victory in the end.

Episode 146 Snippets: Kinsey Janke Oversees An Engaged, Thriving Social Media Community for the Tampa Bay Lightning

On episode 146 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Kinsey Janke, Social Media Manager for Tampa Bay Lightning.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Five Finds: Marketing and Partnerships on Sports and Social, and Beyond

The best part of working in digital and social media is that we’re surrounded by examples every day. Examples of marketing, of sponsorship, of content, of ads, of engagement – every swipe and scroll is an opportunity to learn. I’m always trying to continue learning – it’s no secret these platforms are changing daily and new ones are popping up, too. The tactics, the metrics, the algorithms – you have to be a lifelong student. There’s also incredible talent and creativity all over, and it’s an excellent ‘free’ source from which to learn.

So, here are the latest Five Finds (examples of sponsored social media or marketing in sports and social/digital):

  1. Manchester City gave away a signed jersey via sweepstakes in its Instagram Story. The player whose jersey would be the prize was Vincent Kompany, whose thrilling goal was the game-winner. If you’re going to activate a sweepstakes, best to do so when more fans are paying attention and engaging, and IG Story views (in this case) will be above average. You may even throw money behind such a timely sweepstakes in the moment, to reach as many new fans as possible, too.Also, something that definitely stood out was the option to enter to win via Amazon. The Facebook and Google options are to be expected, but not often I encounter Amazon used for such a purpose – something to watch. I also imagine international clubs will other major platforms like QQ, WeChat, and WhatsApp, among others.
  2. Good stuff from the Boston Celtics, who have taken an asset they’re producing every game for social media – pregame entrances (aka in the NBA as the pregame fashion show) – and put a sponsor on them. Historic numbers and a proven commodity are attractive for partners looking for season-long awareness, and the JetBlue ‘runway’ tie-in (a la the fashion runway) works well here on Instagram (and IG Stories). Also always good to see digital and offline working together, as is the case here with on-site branding of the area players enter.
  3. Another example of a consistent, predictably performing digital asset – the starting lineup graphic for the San Francisco Giants, shown here on Twitter. While you can have some fun getting creative to showcase and activate a brand partner, when the one of the main KPI’s is awareness (as I’m guessing is the case here), this is perfect. If a dedicated fan sees that Biofreeze name/handle 75+ times during the season’s 162 games, chances are they’ll click to see what the heck it is eventually (I did! Their tagline is on the pic, too, so that gives some clues). Several teams brand their starting lineup like this.BioFreeze lineup
  4. I wanted to jump to another platform for this example – a final score post on Facebook by the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL. There’s plenty of room for novelty and creativity with partnership marketing on social, but there are also classics like the final score to activate. After a win, these posts will get some good engagement organically and it doesn’t hurt many fans are seeing ‘Pedialyte’ late at night maybe right before (or the day after) a night out. (Pedialyte has not so subtly embraced one of its uses as a hangover aid)Pedialyte
  5. Even though my timelines and digital diet is chock full of sports, I know how helpful it can be to learn from other brands and other peeps. This cool promotion was one I read about online and my interest piqued further when Ad Strategist Jack Appleby posted a video sampling (see below) – Chipotle took to TikTok. The app – known as Douyin in China and owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and formerly known as Musical.ly in the US – is rapidly growing and teams and brands are taking notice. One feature are the hashtag challenges, where users create content (in the form of short videos) in response to a challenge. So Chipotle created the ‘Lid Flip.’ (read more here) These challenges can be fun, quirky and awesome highlights set to music do well, fun stuff like players dancing and high-fiving, and also the well-produced, uber-creative stuff that we used to love on Vine seem to have a happy home on TikTok.TikTok-ChipotleLidFlip-Deliverables-050219-BANNER-4

 

Share your thoughts with me and I’m always happy to connect with and help folks in this space! Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

2019 NFL Schedule Release Content on Social Media: Winning the Internet Thoughtfully

A year in the life of a sports team is truly 365 days now. And while the games are all marked on calendars, with the home games highlighted and underlined, a lot of the biggest planning across the team revolves around so-called ‘tentpole’ events. Many industries have their tentpole events and they represent opportunities to make a big splash.

In sports, tentpole events are now often accompanied by awesome social media content and an attempt to engage fans. The NFL recently had such an opportunity – with the release of their team’s week-by-week schedules. What used to be a simple press release, maybe a website update or email, is now an ambitious undertaking by many teams.

Every year, the content teams produce gets better and better. Many are thumb-stopping, jaw-dropping, and awe-inducing. But what are teams trying to accomplish with their schedule release content – is the goal to collect the most views, retweets, kudos from peers and media, and some of that sweet ‘virality?’ With tentpole events marked by content – content many fans are anticipating on social media – a night like NFL Schedule Release night represents a strategic opportunity that can be thoughtfully planned and executed – so that, sure, you can maximize your virality, but also accomplish some meaningful objectives.

After reviewing the schedule release posts of every NFL club (primarily on Twitter – as most were optimized for that platform vs. Instagram, et al.), one is struck by the diversity, the creativity, and how some (not all) of the best seem to have at least some strategic underbelly, some forethought into why we’re doing it like this. The themes I’ll explore in the examples include teams that fell into a few buckets:

1) They activated a partnership

2) Clubs kicked off their campaigns for the 2019 season

3) Teams that established or reinforced their brand and voice

4) Many sought to ‘Win the Internet,’ showing off their creative chops

Let’s go in reverse order because #4 has the fire you want…

Let’s Win The Internet…but do it in a thoughtful way

The content game in sports sometimes feels like an arms race, especially around these tentpole events, when fans and teams alike find themselves comparing their content to that of their opponents. Social teams want to ‘win’ on the Internet as much as players want to win on the field.

The Atlanta Falcons were one of a few teams that played off the Game Of Thrones theme. But they did so in a way that showed off their smart, creative chops, including shots at opponents and clever attention to detail. This is how Bleacher Report would’ve done it and the Falcons wanted to win the Internet, and do so in a way that showed fans the high standard to which the content team holds themselves.

Why GoT? It’s not just because the HBO show had been a staple for years on NFL Sundays, it’s something content teams know the Internet loves and fans love. Not to mention it’s timely. So, much like puppies and babies, GoT content was bound to win. Check out other GoT-themed posts from the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins

A few other teams put in great effort to produce video game presentations to show off their schedule. The Green Bay Packers made their schedule release into a Pac Man game, the Seattle Seahawks did a nice job integrating their ‘Go Hawks’ chant into their retro game look, the New York Jets want fans to be excited for big plays and did a take on NFL Blitz, and the Carolina Panthers did some incredible work showcasing their schedule through a series of throwback video games any kid of the ’90s and ’00s could appreciate. The Panthers, in particular, were in a good sweet spot of not just ‘winning the Internet,’ but doing so in a way that would particularly appeal to (and be shared by) the Millennials all sports teams want to engage.

I have a soft spot for those in this category that also seem to accomplish a club goal. The Dallas Cowboys would be included here, who did their take on ASMR while helping fans see more of a new star player they acquired last year – Amari Cooper [and the curiosity of what came next kept me watching). Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers created content close to the heart of Pittsburghers with a nod to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood (I didn’t know he was a part of the Pittsburgh community, but I bet many Steelers fans did!) The Detroit Lions used a content motif that tends to perform well on the Internet – referencing The Office (one of two teams that did this), though not sure of any strategic thought behind this one.

Finally, the Los Angeles Chargers entered today with a plan to win the Internet and to do it in a unique way they could be pretttttty sure no team would be doing. First, they put out a thread showing their opponents as Pop Tarts. Then, for the schedule release itself, they put in some good work to find ‘stock footage’ to go along with every opponent to create a video entirely of stock footage. Maybe the casual fan doesn’t know what ‘stock footage’ means, but the selection was so good that it was amusing either way. The Chargers know they’re a challenger brand, so they need to take more swings and distinguish themselves in a unique fashion. Mission accomplished on this day.

So, yes, try to win the Internet, but do it in a way that makes sense for your team, for the fans you’re trying to reach, and take a calculated swing for the fences.

Building and reinforcing the brand

When you have a chance to reach a large swath of fans, likely for the first time in a long time, it’s an opportunity for a team to strengthen their brand, to reinforce who they are. There were a handful of teams this year that went all in on making sure fans knew they what they’re about and reminded fans why they can be proud to love their team do much.

The Indianapolis Colts embraced their reputation, at least that of their figurehead Andrew Luck, by doing something, well, boring. But it puts their main man front and center and allows fans to embrace the ‘boring’ QB they all love. The Cleveland Browns showed off the dry sense of humor for which they’ve become known over the years – in good times and mostly bad times – and they featured their General Manager John Dorsey printing their schedule on an old-school printer, like something out of 1999.

I enjoyed and appreciated the effort of the Tennessee Titans, embracing their country Nashville roots, and allowing Dolly Parton and her country music friends with Lanco to bring their fans the schedule. The New Orleans Saints kept it simple but did a fantastic job as their video just screams New Orleans and perhaps no team wraps their team around their city’s character more than the Saints, and they do so here.

Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles put in a helluva lot of work to round up a bunch of well-known Philadelphia figures to take part in their schedule release video – they were first and foremost out to win the part of the Internet that consisted of Philadelphia fans, and let’s just say the eagle landed (Keep reading, I’m here all night!).

Kicking off 2019 as they announce the 2019 schedule

The NFL schedule release happened days after many teams started their offseason workout programs and it really starts to feel like the 2019 NFL season has begun. It’s the club’s first opportunity to reach a ton of their fans on social media, and a few clubs used it to set the stage for the season.

While we remember the (amaaaaaazing) Monsters of the Midway motifs from the Chicago Bears last year (and they may be back this year, I do not know), they used their schedule release to begin the yearlong celebration of the franchise’s centennial. Check out their 100 years video below, and it gets you in the mood for Bears history all year long.

In a similar vein, the Kansas City Chiefs highlighted their team’s history with old-school clips peppering their schedule release as part of their 60th anniversary season. The Oakland Raiders have the same 60th anniversary season on the horizon and also featured their team’s #1 face (especially with even franchise QB Derek Carr’s situation not as 100% certain as it once was) – head coach John Gruden. History and Gruden are two Raiders pillars as we kick off 2019.

Teams activated or established partnerships

When you have a tentpole event, there is an opportunity to create and activate a partnership – whether that’s a sponsor, a potential ‘influencer,’ or something in between. It’s why extending creative conversations to more team members – sponsorship, PR, CR, sales, marketing – can be so beneficial.

The New York Giants made fans remember they’re big-time as actor/comedian Traci Morgan dropped jokes for every opponent (and it made you want to complete the video to hear them all) – the Giants got the benefit of the celeb tie-in, Morgan got to plug his show, and fans got a comedic schedule release video. Nice partnership! The San Francisco 49ers worked with Bay Area-based artist P-Lo aka Lil Stunna whose track formed the soundtrack for their schedule release video, which included listing his album/track (and some nice pub for him, too).

A few other teams were able to tie in corporate sponsors into their schedule release content – the Denver Broncos gave fans an EA Madden NFL video game-inspired video, the Minnesota Vikings had a little ‘poetry’ to describe each game in their schedule – and it was ‘presented by’ Ticketmaster, and the Jacksonville Jaguars executed a heck of a production – entertaining and featuring ‘gameshow host Josh Lambo (go ahead and laugh, it’s their kicker) and sponsored by McGowan’s HVAC

 

So, yes, stimulate the creative juices, maximize reach and engagement, produce the 🔥 content to which we all aspire, but be thoughtful about it – have a rhyme and a reason, not just a what and a how but a why. Because when content takes off and it’s content that is strategically aligned with the objectives of the organization – that’s really winning the day.

 

Also…..a ROUND OF APPLAUSE for the work, effort, and thought put into the schedule release content by so many NFL clubs. It’s inspiring to the industry and to content creators and marketers everywhere!

2019 Sloan Sports and Analytics Conference Twitter Recap for Sports Business

In March 2019, the annual Sloan Sports and Analytics Conference was held in Boston, bringing together thought leaders and practitioners throughout sports business, performance, tech, and, of course, intelligence/analytics.

This deck is a collection of the best quotes, insights, and observations (for sports business, generally) shared via Twitter at the event.

Thanks to everyone whose tweets helped fuel this recap and to Sloan for hosting and providing coverage of an incredible conference! For more on me, follow on Twitter @njh287, connect on Linkedin (Neil Horowitz), and check out more on the website while you’re here!

52 Examples of Sponsored Social Media from NFL Teams from the 2018 Season

Social Media ROI in sports is so much more than someone clicking on a Buy Tickets link or a sponsor paying for ‘x’ number of posts.

But when a team can integrate a partner into content they’d be posting anyway and content their fans would want regardless – that’s the sweet spot. Partners pay for content, fans enjoy content.

And there is no greater opportunity for NFL teams than activating their enormous social and digital audiences around game day. It’s when more fans are following, more fans are engaged, and are more thirsty for content.

For every week of the 2018 season, I picked a NFL team and checked out their sponsored content. That’s 17 weeks of learning (woo!) and picked out a few from each team to share here. I hope you are intrigued and inspired by the following list of ~ 52 pieces of sponsored content from NFL teams on or around game day:

New York Jets

  • The Jets exhorted fans to share their ‘Gameday Green pics, which is sponsored by Miller Lite (as tagged on the image). I noticed Miller Lite doing something similar with multiple teams.
  • This was unique – the Jets have a ‘Fan Hall of Fame,’ in partnership with IdentoGO
  • The third example is cool – the Jets are among many sports teams that offer a ‘pass’ to their game (usually a monthly subscription for guaranteed general admission / last-minute assigned seat for all home games); the Jets’s version is the ‘Jets Boarding Pass,’ sponsored by jetBlue.

 

 

 

San Francisco 49ers

  • Gotta love interviews with players in cars — the Niners have a 1-on-1 interview segment presented by Toyota, and it takes place — while driving in a Toyota!
  • Pregame live hits on social/mobile do pretty well with fans, and the 49ers have Ticketmaster sponsor the ‘Keys To Victory.’
  • Not a content piece here, but a great illustration of integrating partners in their app (they also have Uber, Lyft, and local transit in their app) with In-Seat Concessions presented by BevMo and a Bud Light Quick Pay feature that allows fans to pay for beer at the stadium with their device

 

 

 

Los Angeles Rams

  • A handful of teams will put out a post on social to mark 24 hours until their game; the Rams did so while drawing attention to partner 24 Hour Fitness.
  • The Rams created an ‘asset’ for a partner by sharing ‘Halftime Notes,’ presented by Cornerstone
  • Not as many NFL teams as teams in other sports activate a food partner for an in-game achievement, but when the Rams score two touchdowns, fans get a free Jumbo Jack from Jack In The Box.

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Detroit Lions

  • Multiple teams will do a gameday recipe of sorts and the Lions do a Tasty-style video showcasing their own recipe recommendations, from Henry Ford Health Systems.
  • Cool mobile game in the Lions app that drives awareness and engagement around the Quick Lane Bowl.
  • Wanted to call out an easy, engaging post prior to the game with a Bob’s Big Boy Matchup to Watch, done via the easy-to-engage Twitter poll (and easily duplicated in IG Story).

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Vikings

  • Not sure if they replicate this every week, but a solid piece of content in partnership with Sleep Number is their ‘Inside Look,’ featuring a player talking about rest and recovery.
  • UPS presented a Player Spotlight across digital/social.
  • The third sample is a fun ‘vIQ,’ which is a crossfire-style video in which a player answers some fun quick-hitting questions, as host and player follow along on their clearly visible Microsoft Surface tablets.

 

 

 

 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Teams will often provide fans How To Watch info and the Bucs throw in some analysis, too for ‘how to watch,’ all sponsored by Bud Light. Good pregame content.
  • Another mobile app game activated on game day – Bucs Bingo, inside their app, easy and fun to play, sponsored by Coca-Cola.
  • On an off-day leading up to the game, we get to see some player personality and something fans may enjoy on its own merit – a cooking show with a player guest chef, sponsored by Teco People’s Gas.

 

 

 

Indianapolis Colts

  • Several teams run sweepstakes on behalf of partners and here they tie a ‘Road Trip’ sweepstakes with a relevant partner, Speedway, run via web and includes an opt-in.
  • An infographic branded with a relevant sponsor as the Teachers Credit Union presents By The Numbers
  • During the game, the Colts posted action photos in their Instagram Story (that were actually linked to highlights if a fan tried to swipe up) branded with sponsor Allegiant.

 

 

Kansas City Chiefs

  • It was hard to pick just a few to share from the Chiefs, who do a lot of good content and other activations with sponsors on and around game day. First, take a look at a ‘Chiefs History’ Twitter poll [enhanced by a video!], in conjunction with an education partner, Park University
  • The Chiefs get their fans to have ‘Big Macs for Sacks’ on their minds, as a BOGO offer is activated by a #BigMacSack for the Chiefs
  • Nice way to draw relevant attention to a partner within their gameday photos, including Missouri Lottery in line with a celebration pic (just you celebrating winning the lottery) and a Protein House ‘strong’ pic of a player making a strong play

 

 

Dallas Cowboys

  • The Cowboys teamed up with a couple partners – Sleep Number and Blue Star Families to help out a military family, with an assist from Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper. Good content as a result, too.
  • Another team highlighting a relevant partner tie-in 24 hours out from kickoff, in this case luxury watchmaker Hublot.
  • Throughout the week and on game day – the Cowboys review the ‘Blueprint’ for success in the matchup, along with sponsor Xerox.
  • Wanted to also highlight a unique partner integrated with the oh-so-common travel shots, with Jack Black men’s skin care.

 

 

 

 


Miami Dolphins

  • The Dolphins brand almost all of their press conference / presser recap posts with “I Said It,” presented by Verizon, including the branding on the photos and tagged in the post.
  • Miami activates a relevant partner, music streaming platform Deezer, as fans learn what pregame pump-up songs players prefer on their playlists. (Yay alliteration)
  • Lastly, some cool content and nice activation as a couple old-timers talk about a past game in a barber shop setting, sponsored by Capilla Therapy and Hair Club, both businesses dealing with hair restoration.

 

Chicago Bears

  • Easy and fun to interview coaches over a meal/drink, bringing a partner into the content – here the Bears have Coffee With Coach, from Dunkin’ Donuts, and Lunch With Larry, thanks to a pizza partner.
  • Dunkin’ also sponsors an incredible ‘Game Face’ feature on their mobile app, with an extensive selection of AR lenses fans can wear and share.
  • An easy sponsor integration as the Bears make note of Montway Auto Transport for their transactions, in this case activating a previously injured player.

 

Buffalo Bills

  • The Bills draw attention to bus / rideshare partner Rally with a discount for fans coming to the game and a sweepstakes to amplify the reach, for tickets to a game.
  • The Bills have an activation for scoring two touchdowns, with fans winning Tim Hortons coffee.
  • Just about all of the Bills live content – for pregame and postgame – is presented with ECMC, hammering home their brand association with the Bills.

 

Cleveland Browns

  • All fans have to know about Elk & Elk as a Browns sponsor, and their logo is just about every graphic the Browns post on game day.
  • Good and organic partner integration with FanDuel for Stats & Facts.
  • As many do, Cleveland shouts out airline sponsor United Airlines for their travel photos.

 

Green Bay Packers

  • Many teams tag Bose with photos of their players warming up or entering the stadium sporting headphones, but the Packers do that and more – making Bose the sponsor of all-access content.
  • Nice ‘Drive Summary’ graphic branded for Chevrolet.
  • Cenex is the sponsor of every Packers ‘Inbox,’ and related content, including such content posted on game day.

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Baltimore Ravens

  • Similar to the Jets (See above), the Ravens have a neat ticketing option that also activates a partner – as fans can purchase and use their ‘Southwest Boarding Pass’
  • When the Ravens win, fans get a free coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, as long as they’re registered as a DD Perks member.
  • Baltimore calls out a personal injury lawyer partner for their injury report / Who’s In, Who’s Out

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Washington Redskins

  • Nice way to brand a game preview story with a relevant sponsor – as Pest Management Services is the sponsor of ‘Defending Our Turf.’
  • Invoking one getting an insurance ‘quote,’ the Redskins present Top 10 Quotes with Geico.
  • Tough but impressive mobile app game, sponsored by Bud Light.

 

New Orleans Saints

  • Miller Lite is featured prominently in the Saints’s ephemeral social media, with the Miller Lite Fan of the Game shown on their Instagram Story and a Miller Lite can on their Snapchat geofilter.
  • ABC Insurance Agencies sponsors ‘Xtra Downs,’ a game for fans to play on game day inside the Saints mobile app.
  •  A lot of ways to brand keys to the game, et al., and the Saints have ‘Key Ingredients’ for a win, presented by pizza partner Papa John’s.

 

No, not every sponsored social media campaign in sports starts with a catchy pun (but it doesn’t hurt), and as this creative collection shows, there are ample opportunities to tie in relevant partners into content that would be posted anyways. Content that fans are happy to see and consume. Content that brings in sponsors in a way that make sense. We’re still in the early days of sponsored social media content in sports, but it has already come a long way from years ago. The best is yet to come, and the winners should end up being the fans.

CHECK OUT ALL THE FULL TEAM REVIEWS HERE

Episode 135 Snippets: Keith Stoeckeler Goes Deep on Digital, Social, Sports, Structure, and…Burgers

On episode 135 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Keith Stoeckeler, Vice President and Group Director, Digital, at MKTG.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.