Brands like to have the best image and perception built to have the right emotions attached to their audience. In order to do so, brands have to focus on the most effective communication strategy. Not only do brands need to invest heavily in communication across the right platforms, but also in associating with the right brands and collaborate with suitable initiatives such as social causes, entertainment, events, celebrity personalities and more.
The most popular or preferred emotions attached to brands are compassion, passion, and happiness. These emotions help escalate the brand acceptability with their target audiences. Investing in sports-related inventory and associating with sports events is hence the best bet for brands. Sports events ensure the brands get a variety of audiences which makes profiling of demographics easier. Due to the popularity of the sport, campaigns last longer and almost always have a better impact on resonating with the emotional audience attached to their favorite teams and stars. This ensures higher brand connect and stickiness.
Digital marketing is not just a part of marketing anymore, but marketing is skewed to digital now! Marketing strategy without digital would not just leave the brand behind but it might also make a brand become extinct.
I happened to stumble upon a fortunate opportunity to witness the most prestigious sports event of the year 2019, the ICC Cricket World Cup right at the heart of where it was held; the United Kingdom. Hopping across all the venues – The Oval, The Hampshire Bowl Southampton, The Old Trafford at Manchester, Edgbaston at Birmingham and the most sacred of all Lord’s at London. While at the venues I closely observed not just the celebration of the fans and sponsorship programs but also got an opportunity to learn and appreciate the brilliant strategy ICC put up for the success of this much-loved event.
ICC Digital insider had the right mix of their digital channels for, which included
- ICC official website dedicated for the Cricket World Cup: www.cricketworldcup.com
- A dedicated ICC Cricket World Cup mobile app giving all the details and real-time update to fans
- Social Media partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and Tik Tok giving the right mix of the social platforms for fans to engage with the Cricket World cup
- Fantasy Game app by Dream 11 which allowed the expanse of fan engagement and increased the off-the-field experience
- A team of specialist hosts giving the fans behind the scenes and off the field connect through ICC Digital Insider
The communication strategy would be incomplete without storytelling. Storytelling does not come easy to everyone. Not all brands get it right and hence a lot of campaigns fail to convert with their audience, even with the right channels to communicate and the right associated brands by the side to attach the desired emotion to uplift the brand perception. A very important part of the storytelling strategy is to get a good set of storytellers. ICC Digital Insider hand-picked 4 hosts to do the storytelling.
- Zainab Abbas
Has almost 2M followers on all social media
Previously hosted for the Pakistan Super League, T10 which gives experience and right background which made her a good story-teller
- Niall O’Brien
Former Irish Cricketer which means the fans would get authentic communication coming from the players perspective and trustable source
- Ridhima Pathak
About a million followers on social media which make her a known face and personality with Indian audience who happened to be in majority during the Cricket World Cup 2019
- Elma Smit
A seasoned presenter / producer at Radio such as Jacaranda FM, who has previously worked elite sports events like Players choice 2019 and associated actively with MyPlayers – an organization with for professional Rugby players in South Africa which makes her an experienced storyteller
ICC Digital Insider’s storytelling strategy included carefully curated and well-thought approaches:
1. Active Fan conversations on Game Day which allowed
a. Active interaction with fans thereby establishing an emotional connect for celebration environment
b. Influencer reactions for virtual viewers to get a sense of what is happening at the venues which otherwise could not have been possible for they are not physically at the venues
c. Fans celebrations and emotions which are contagious and spread faster
2. Capture Fan excitement before, during and after matches which allowed them to manage
a. A consistent flow of content
c. Pace the content according to the ups and downs of the game days
d. Real-time reactions and opinions which cricket fans love to share the most
3. Use visuals to capture the action real-time:
a. Allowed them to get important moments of the game day on visuals which would have a direct impact with fan reactions
b. Fan response to real-time visuals could cause a ripple effect which would motivate a lot of content re- share
c. Having influential personalities who visited the event share their experience helped a lot since fans got to see a lot more of their favorite stars apart from the players whom they looked up to
4. Drive maximum campaign reach through sponsorships
a. Encourage sponsors to conduct campaigns and contests to motivate fan engagement
b. Motivate engagement through gratifications ex: tickets and goodies
c. Cover special segments with sponsors doing activities at the venue thereby creating more engaging content, giving a sense of live-action off-the-field
5. Fuel fan loyalty through interactive in-venue experiences
a. Global fan groups such as Bharat Army who have a wide reach and closer connect with over 11,000 Indian fans across the world were engaged and covered live from the venues
b. This made it easier to wider target audience with lesser time and measure responses
The result of all this was a staggering splatter of content on social media which achieved them,
With all their efforts and the right storytelling approach, the ICC Digital Insider team was able to achieve more than 1 Billion hits on their videos even during the mid of the Cricket World Cup 2019.
In comparison to all other major events during 2019, Cricket World Cup this year was fairly an inexpensive event