Having an engaged customer base can be highly beneficial for businesses. Customers whose relationship goes beyond simply buying your products and services can be loyal and great advocates – spreading the good word about your business through word of mouth recommendations that are worth their weight in gold.
It’s not easy to engage customers though. Trying to force a long-lasting relationship can be off-putting and the relationship is better when it comes about more naturally – when you reach out to them at a time and location they are comfortable with and share their passions and interests.
Sport is something that unites many people from a whole range of walks of life. United by their passion for the action, their nation or their team – sports fans have a level of engagement and passion that offers an opportunity for businesses looking to boost their customer engagement. Tap into the passion of sports fan and you’ll be on to a winner.
This is where modern sponsorship comes in. Sports sponsorship is no longer simply about getting your company’s name emblazoned across the front of a shirt of an advertising hoarding with your logo and slogan.
These days, thanks to social media, businesses can stand out from the crowd and reach out to sports fans as a result of partnering themselves up with the action. Official endorsements – especially with large scale sporting events such as the upcoming Rugby World Cup – not only offer exposure to a global audience and the chance to have your name associated with elite level action, but also that all-important engagement.
A study by Catalyst revealed that 56% of customers would be more inclined to like or follow a brand that supports its favourite team, while 43% per cent said that a competition to win a sport-related prize would hook them in.
The study also showed that there are huge spikes in the use of Facebook and Twitter on match days. Businesses, then, know where these people are and what they’re looking for.
By uploading relevant, interesting photos, videos and written content during these busy peaks in interest, there’s the chance to grab the attention of fans and earn their respect and engagement.
Those cynical about the ability of sport to make an impact would do well to heed the lessons of the past. Experts have shown how markets such as Forex even feel the force of a surge of the sporting feelgood factor. The FTSE 100 rose in value by 5.1% during the 2013 Wimbledon tournament, for example.
The combination of the level of interest and the level of interaction of fans – coupled with the lucrative benefits to be had – shows there is a real chance for greater engagement and financial success on the back of sporting tournaments.
Telecomms giant O2 has pinpointed the Rugby World Cup as a big chance for it to cash in in this way. The England shirt sponsor is linking with virtual reality headset firm Oculus Rift to create ‘Wear the Rose’, a game that puts fans into the thick of the action themselves, with realistic views of the action, team talks and training – the closest to the action that any true fan can get and a great example of close engagement.
Ben is an accomplished and experienced freelance writer who has featured in a number of high profile publications and websites. If he’s not reading the financial times you’ll find him listening to live music or at the coast surfing.