On Monday 7th April I landed in San Francisco totally unaware of the San Francisco Giants sports franchise. Who are the San Francisco Giants?
In less than 15 hours it was very clear to me who the Giants were, what they stood for and the significance of Tuesday 8th April aka ‘Opening Day’.
I saw first-hand what I’d always known, that Sports marketing in the US is in a different league to that of Welsh rugby marketing. Then I began to look at what Welsh rugby marketing can learn from Major League Baseball team the San Francisco Giants.
Image courtesy of www.SFgiants.com
Marketing message of Giant proportions
The Giants ‘Together’ campaign is a ‘home run’ marketing concept. Inclusive, meaningful and versatile enough to be used in many guises.
The fans, residents, local businesses, TV stations, sponsors and civil servants all come together to play their part in promoting the local team.
Sponsors look to maximise their team association with marketing messages linked to the team. That goes for all media channels be it digital, print, TV, radio or social.
Add to that the street signage that leaves you under no illusion where you are and that the city supports the team cause. Local business too capitalise on their location and invite the fans to show their team support within their establishments.
Merchandise for everyone
I’ve never seen so much team merchandise being adorned by fans. I can’t imagine the monetary value of merchandise but it is likely to be a significant proportion of the club income.
For fans visiting a stadium with free Wi-fi access you can now easily share a match-day experience on social media channels.
The Giants and other MLB have recently adopted iBeacons to help enhance the fan experience and add another dimension to their marketing. On arriving at the main entrance I got a notification.
A beacon system like this can guide a first time visitor like me to my seat. I can avoid queues, easily locate toilets and receive special offers on a hot-dog. This concept adds real value to the game-day experience. Welsh rugby marketing could benefit from iBeacons too!
The game experience
OK I have to admit, I’m not a baseball fan. Sadly a glorified game of rounders doesn’t have enough over-zealous rucking or player collisions for my liking.
But this baseball experience was good. Kiss-cam, dance-cam, and fireworks all add to the mix. In many ways as good as an international and the theatrical spectaculars of Welsh rugby’s iconic Millennium Stadium.
What can Welsh rugby marketing learn from the Giants?
Find an identity – Meaningful values, strong branding, polished marketing presentation and consumer acceptance are required.
Clear messaging – Adopt a ‘Together’-esque marketing campaign strategy and be clinical in the brand values of the team.
Be inclusive – Connect with the Welsh public outside of the traditional supporter base, make them feel welcome and encourage them to be brand and champions of the team.
Be visible – Go to the local authorities and ask for free marketing space on public transport, streets signs, bus shelters, train stations and billboards. Make co-promotion part of the sponsorship negotiations.
Be commercial – Offer a range of merchandise that goes way beyond the typical match day kit and incentive its wearing at match-days.
Use technology – Utilise the latest innovations such as iBeacons to provide an enhanced spectator experience and the potential for additional commercial marketing revenues.
This Major League Baseball game certainly gave the impression that Welsh rugby marketing is still in the little league this blended formula of science and art can create marketing giants.