Tag Archives: social media


How will wearable technology impact social marketing for sports brands?

Saf Hossain is a Social Media Manager at We Play. We Play is a London-based sports social media agency helping brands commercialise their relationship with fans.

In an announcement that surprised very few people last week, Cupertino’s finest revealed the first ever Apple Watch. Many commentators are predicting that, like mp3 players, smartphones and tablets, Apple’s arrival into the smartwatch market provides wearable technology with mainstream appeal and long-term staying power.

Of course, wearable tech does not stop at watches, with Google Glass arguably generating the most excitement among consumers thus far. We have already seen isolated examples of the technology used in American Football (as shown above) – and some of the major social platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are now introducing functionality for their apps to wearable devices. However, the wearable industry is still in its infancy and it hasn’t been until now that applications for wearable devices will become a mainstream product for developers.

Now, the wearables industry enters a gold rush for a standout social app for these new devices – because current platforms are too content-rich to shrink and display on a tiny watch screen. The new gadgets will have to operate on their own merit, without the need for a smartphone app, to really flourish.

This means reducing messaging to the bare bones – prioritising the quality of communication over richness and detail. Even a 140-character Tweet would be too lengthy as a piece of content on a smartwach, and would a Facebook post hold the user’s attention when glancing through Google Glass?


Where will wearables position in the social media marketing mix? As the success of Vine and Snapchat have proven, social media users (particularly in the younger demographic) are hugely receptive to short, snackable content. This translates to engagement as well: users already engage in the way that’s quickest (applause) over ways that are more demanding for time (conversation and amplification). While user experience across products ranging from Apple Watch to Android Wear to Google Glass will likely vary a considerable amount, creating a language of engagement that plays to wearable strengths – gestures, body movements and voice control – is how the next big social platform will distinguish itself.

So where do sports brands come into play? First of all, wearables present a clean slate for marketers to push content. Consumers have become so accustomed to notifications popping up on a smartphone that many disregard those messages until a later time. If a smartwatch were to vibrate, being physically connected to the user means the natural reaction is to check the screen.

Because wearables will undergo several phases of adoption before it’s safe to assume that almost everyone has one, the cogent tactic for marketers would be to first use the devices to get personal. For example, Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear – even screenless trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone Up – track the user’s physical activity. Sportswear brands will mine this valuable CRM data, and offer the consumer information on the latest products, relevant to their activity.


If wearable technology is really here to stay and not simply a passing fad, at some point in the future we could be attending a sporting event where the majority of spectators have one. You’ll be sat there during a lull in play, and a message from an event sponsor flashes up on your smartwatch saying something like:

“Check out our amazing offer. Come to this part of the stadium. Give the attendant a high-five to collect a discount.”

Conclusion? Though smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life to most of us, they have also made communication more elaborate, more screen-centric and ultimately more homogenous. Wearables, within the evolving universe of connected products, dubbed the ‘Internet of Things’, present an opportunity to scale back complex communication to a simpler and (arguably) less intrusive experience. In turn, the new challenge for marketers will become a defining paradigm for brands and fans to connect.

header image source: http://qoosha.com/is-wearable-tech-the-next-big-thing/ 


Celebrity Social – How Can Brands Leverage a Celebrity’s Social Media Following?

Guest post: Richard Williams is a digital strategist at digital web agency, Rawnet. Rawnet are also a supporter of the Digital Sport London event series.

Earlier this week, I found myself sitting on the toilet (Yes! – I have gone there in the opening sentence), eagerly opening new browsers on my phone, searching for the pair of trainers I had just seen on a football player’s Instagram page. You see, I’m a toilet browser. And like 75% of the male population, whether they admit it or not, I bring my iPhone to the toilet with me to pass the time.

Luckily for you, my toilet habits have nothing to do with this blog.

Impulse Influence

Whilst searching for the trainers I had just seen, it struck me that I didn’t actually like them at all. In a moment of pure madness, I had managed to get sucked into the ever increasing sports star influence trap. I love all sport, but in particular, I am a total Football fan. I live and breath it. Give me the choice and I would be a footballer over any other profession on the planet. Couple this with the realisation that I am a child at heart and it’s a very dangerous position to be in when the England Captain shows me his latest gold-plated, white and black studded trainers.

I instantly buy into his choice of footwear and ultimately begin my quest to emulate him. I then calm down and realise that walking into the Rawnet office wearing them would form the beginnings of a lifetime of office banter. Instead, I declined to purchase.

Lack of Athlete Endorsement

Poor taste aside, many of the material purchases or style choices I have made over the last 20 years have been heavily influenced by different sports stars, and in particular, the main man – David Beckham. It’s very easy to isolate Mr Beckham when analysing the link between brands and consumers. He’s the people’s choice, and has been for over 15 years. However, I question whether brands have taken note of this and progressed things any further.

Looking at the stats, nearly £33 billion is spent Worldwide each year on sports endorsement, yet only a staggering 3% of this is actually dedicated to athlete endorsement. For years, the brands have favoured teams, leagues and associations, with the view that these institutions will give them direct access to the mass TV and fan markets.

For the likes of Coca Cola and Hyundai, this serves a very strong purpose and raises brand awareness. But are they missing a trick along with the smaller brands who cannot afford mainstream pricing? With the mass growth of social media and the ability to connect with sports stars 24/7, we have already seen the steady rise of individual player power and influence. No longer does a brand need to enter lengthy negotiations and multi-million pound agreements when they can use individual players to directly influence fans. Like me, these fans hang on every single word that is broadcast by sports stars through their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts.

What’s more, the ability to niche down and create targeted marketing campaigns becomes a complete reality. If you take football players as an example, we know the demographic of their followers will mirror the area, or country, with which they play. It’s safe to say that Wayne Rooney has a strong following in the Manchester area rather than in Bournemouth. We also know that he will have a strong favour of male fans over female – and no, I’m not referring to his looks! This ultimately allows brands to deliver targeted campaigns to the people who really matter to them. With the wealth of analytics tools and the emergence of web services such as Klout, there is no reason why a brand cannot analyse the sports market, review engagement levels/demographics/followers and choose an individual sports person who can deliver their branded message to a targeted, engaged fanbase.

Digital Soapbox

World famous ex-basketball star Shaquille O’Neal has carved out one of the most enviable and lucrative social brands on the planet. Having recently opened his home to 30 of the top brand executives in the United States, including Ralph Lauren and Toys R Us, he allowed them to approach him with targeted campaigns and endorsements. As a result of that meeting, Shaq agreed a deal with Nabisco to promote Oreos by sending out a personalised tweet:

I’m going to see how many Oreos I can eat in 15 seconds

The result? 10 percent of the 4 million followers clicking through to the Oreo website. Success all round.

Direct activation through sports stars allows a brand to capitalise on the now. Taking the recent Commonwealth Games into account, the ability to capitalise on a lesser known athlete at the moment they win gold could arguably yield more impressive results than Mr Rooney would while he suns himself in Dubai. It removes the risk of agreeing a long-term sponsorship with a player in the hope that they hit a ‘hot streak’ and prove a marketing ROI, only to break a leg and play Playstation for months on end. It effectively turns the tables, and returns the control to brands.

Why is this beneficial to brands?

  • They can cut through the noise and engage their target market.
  • It’s more cost effective.
  • It allows for instant activation and engagement.
  • Campaign success can be measured and used as a blueprint moving forward

Out with the Old

It’s clear to say that the influence of sports stars is only rising, and I don’t believe that we need to just focus on the likes of Rooney and Beckham. Social media is now providing lesser known stars with the platform to engage and ultimately create a tangible and marketable brand for themselves.

I predict that we are in the beginning stages of a sports marketing revolution. I believe brands will wisen up to the fact that they do not need to create and invest in traditional marketing campaigns when they can simply activate relevant personalities with huge influence over their fans.

Whether you are a local retailer wishing to tap into the popularity of your local team’s rugby captain or a ‘Blue Chip Company’ utilising the likes of David Beckham, there is now a clear and measurable route to market using digital channels. Those who wish to stay ahead of the curve will prosper, while Head & Shoulders will continue to push out cheesy adverts with Joe Hart!


wimbledon 2

Wimbledon generated 3.5m short clip video views across Facebook and Twitter

The AELTC has announced that they shared more than 300 short clips across Facebook and Twitter during the tournament, generating over 3.5m clip plays using Grabyo’s video platform.

Facebook saw the largest number of Wimbledon clip plays with over 1.5m views (42.9%), while 1.4m (40.6%) were on Twitter and nearly 600k (16.4%) were viewed within the Wimbledon.com based video gallery powered by Grabyo.

The most viewed clip of the tournament, which featured Nick Kyrgios hitting a ‘tweener’ winner during his match against Rafa Nadal, generated over 447k clip views alone. The clip spread virally across social media with an organic reach of 3.73m on Facebook as well as 27,924 likes, comments or shares.

On Twitter it enjoyed more than 960k impressions and 26,924 engagements – boosted by second-wave coverage of the relevant tweet by popular online sports destinations such as Sports Illustrated and ATP World Tour,. The match also generated an impressive 660,250 tweets peaking at 11,393 tweets per minute.

The moment Novak Djokovic celebrated winning the tournament by eating grass on Centre Court also generated very significant engagement with almost 300k clip views, organic reach of 6.4m fans and 32,734 likes, comments or shares on Facebook. It also clocked up 190k impressions and 7,308 engagements on Twitter.

Despite Grabyo’s real-time video offering being a mobile-first format, two-thirds (2.35m) of Wimbledon’s social clip views were across the desktop versus one third (1.2m) across mobile devices – possibly due to the fact that the majority of play takes place during office hours in Europe and much of North America. iPhone was the dominant mobile device (as is common with mobile video consumption patterns) with 688,496 of views versus 482,304 on Android.

A number of other clips also attracted substantial audiences including:

  • WATCH: Worrying signs for Serena Williams during her doubles warm-up with sister Venus. #Wimbledon (414,837 views)
  • WATCH: A game of double faults from Serena as she & sister Venus retire from their doubles match. #Wimbledon (333,712 views)
  • WATCH: Djokovic is reunited with wall of champions & is congratulated by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (175,635 views)

Alexandra Willis, Content and Communications Manager at the AELTC:

“We were very pleased with the outcome of this initiative, which proved the value of being able to produce content quickly in response to real-time events. The clips drove an impressive level of organic social media engagement and buzz, while also encouraging Wimbledon fans to tune-in, and also providing us with content for the rest of our digital channels. There is clearly enormous potential to take this type of content further in partnership with our broadcast partners but we were delighted with the results in our first year of working with Grabyo.”

Gareth Capon, CEO at Grabyo:

“Wimbledon was undoubtedly our most successful project to date and served to illustrate the potential of this social video format. The significant level of engagement on both Facebook and Twitter demonstrates the opportunity for rights holders across the social space and supports our view that they need to take a cross-platform approach to real-time video distribution. There is much to play for in this market and both Facebook and Twitter are making clear progress in providing a video ecosystem that delivers value for premium content owners.”

You can hear from from the guys at Grabyo at the September ‘Digital Sport London’ event on Wednesday 24th from 6pm. Tickets are available for £10 (plus booking fee) from https://digitalsportlondon11.eventbrite.co.uk



Ryder Cup update: fans encouraged to use social media.. in most places

Following recent articles, including by yours truly, about the Ryder Cup not allowed ticket holders to upload images or video to social media during the tournament, the Ryder Cup team have come out with an announcement to clear things up.

Social media interaction, photography and the sharing of content are all going to be encouraged at The 2014 Ryder Cup, according to the organisers. Though not everywhere on the course.

Ryder Cup Europe has moved to reassure spectators that they will be allowed to take photos and video on their mobile phones during the event, and will be encouraged to share their experiences on social networks.

A range of initiatives are already in place for visitors to engage with when they arrive at the event. This includes the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which will allow spectators to take part in fun activities around the course and share their experiences instantly on social media using a special wristband.

Ryder Cup Europe has also been working with the Scottish Government and mobile phone providers to provide ultrafast 4G wireless connections across the venue.

But organisers have rules in place for spectators on the course at Gleneagles in order to avoid disrupting players and the experience of other spectators. This is where it will still be hard for officials to police…

The use of cameras (and phones?) will be prohibited at each hole during play in order to avoid disrupting players and to enable a clear line of sight for all spectators, many of whom will be standing or sitting around the course rather than in a raised position in a grandstand.

Edward Kitson, Match Director of The 2014 Ryder Cup, said:

“We want people to share their stories online and feel part of The Ryder Cup. We have put in place a range of fantastic activities in the tented village and around the course that use technology to improve the visitor experience, and these are integrated with social networks. Selfies are positively encouraged and I expect to see plenty of them during the event.

 “However, I’m sure everyone will understand that we have to draw a line in the interests of fair play and respect for the players and fellow spectators. Therefore no photography or video will be allowed during play at any hole. This is something we fully expect everyone to support given that The Ryder Cup is won and lost on very fine margins: we want to give the teams every chance of a level playing field and ensure everyone can see the action.”

 Hopefully it will go smoothly but I imagine stopped people taking pictures of the final moments of the tournament will be exceptionally tough. It’s understandable that people trying to get a shot of their favourite player can be enormously off putting to said player, indeed there have been arguments between players and photographers/spectators about this for many years. It’s not just come about through the widespread use of social media.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly on the day, and fingers crossed for another victory for Europe!

Juventus Asian / Pacific Tour , Backstage video Andrea Pirlo is not impressed

Juventus nail it with #PirloIsNotImpressed

Juventus have been making great strides and been amongst the pioneers in digital amongst Serie A teams. And it’s latest idea, #PirloIsNotImpressed, has seen great global success since its launch on 22 August.

Shot during our recent summer tour in Sydney, the entertaining skit features Juventus and Italy star Andrea Pirlo judging four acts who seek to impress him with their respective performances.

Famed for his dead-pan expression, Pirlo is unmoved by what he sees before the challenge is then passed over to the online community, who are encouraged to try and win him over by sending in their own attempts.

In less than 10 days, the video has registered over 1.5 million views, 850k on YouTube and 700k on Facebook, and the hashtag has commanded a reach of over 20 million (figures provided by Juventus FC). At its peak, the #PirloIsNotImpressed hashtag was used almost 3,000 times in one day.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 15.59.10

In addition, #PirloIsNotImpressed has also been adopted by thousands of users in discussions unrelated to the world of football.

This engaging initiative continues to proceed and, after several Twitter replies along the lines of “nice try but better luck next time”, users remain eager to see if  anything is capable of winning Pirlo’s approval.

We wait to see how the club choose to extend the campaign but it’s one that shows the success in testing an idea and letting it grow organically. It is now something that could go on for a long time with its own cult following.

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ryder cup

Ryder Cup organisers ban photo/video uploads to social media by fans

This week it has been reported that guidelines have been issued to ticket holders warning them against posting images and video on social media for the duration of the tournament.

In a time when other sporting events are looking to capitalise on the proliferation of mobile phones, and second screen devices generally, it’s an interesting move that will prove hard to police. Imagine the winning putt or celebrations of the win not being posted to friends on Facebook as soon as it happens?

This doesn’t affect the millions who will be tuning in to watch Europe’s finest battle the US team. There will be a multitude of ways in which fans will be able to get their fix via digital but seeing the experiences of those on ground through their pictures won’t be one of them (more on that in another article soon).

With 250,000 people expected over the 6 days allowed to bring mobile phones onto the course (on silent) it’s going to be interesting to see how much officials enforce the rules which state;

“Images taken with a camera, mobile phone or other electronic device cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes. You must not sell, license, publish (including, without limitation, via Twitter or Facebook or any other social media site) or otherwise commercially exploit photographs.”

While texting is allowed, and calls in designated areas, mobile phones must be in silent mode at all times. Other prohibitions include a ban on autographs, running, personal mobility scooters and children under five.

A spokesman for Ryder Cup Europe told The Telegraph:

“The Ryder Cup is one of the world’s most recognised sporting events and as such we need to ensure that the brand, encompassing fair play, teamwork and camaraderie is protected at all times which means ensuring that images of the event are not used for monetary gain in a manner which may go against those principles.

“The taking of pictures during high pressure sporting events has also been shown to have an adverse effect on players, with shutter sounds and bright flashes proving to be a distraction at critical moments. It is not fair to compromise the sporting occasion for either the players or those spectating.”

One thing that may work in the organisers favour is the general lack of internet access at golf events. If they don’t add wifi stations around the course, as they did at the British Open this year, then the chance of 3G working with so many people around is going to be remote. Thus people will lose the moment and they wont be uploaded until they get home or to their hotel.

It’s not only the spectators who could be affected by this. The golfers involved are some of the heaviest users of social media, especially Twitter, in the sports world. The likes of Ian Poulter (1.7m fans), Justin Rose (363k), Rory McIlroy (2m), Bubba Watson (1.2m), Rickie Fowler (789k) and many of both teams have large followings to keep up to state – as well as appease sponsors.

Generally they are allowed to post pictures on practice days from on the course but not during playing days. Although The Telegraph talks about players not being able to use social media, the final decision on players using social media actually lies with the captain, in this case Paul McGinley, who isn’t active on social himself.

Back in 2010, when it was last held in Europe, one of the most entertaining aspects was following the players updates throughout the event as Europe went on to an exciting win. It was the first time social media was able to give us insights into golf’s greatest event and has remained popular with the games players and fans since.

Fingers crossed McGinley allows his players to remain active away from the course and we get to see McIlroy and his teammates celebrating with a selfie!


rory selfie


#CoolJob: Social Media Manager at 1966 Group

1966 was founded in 2006 by Terry Byrne and specialises in maximising intellectual property rights, global licensing, branding, endorsements and appearances globally within the football industry.

The team consists of coaches, ex players, managers and global brand and events experts with world-class expertise within the sports industry.

1966 exclusively manages the commercial interests of the England football team including full representation and management of the players commercial programme and relationship with the FA and its partners


Role: Social Media Manager

Salary: £25k-£30k pa

Job Function:

Reporting directly to the Head of Communications, the Social Media Manager will be responsible for creating and implementing the social media strategy for all companies within the 1966 group and specific individuals  within the footballing industry.


1966/United Marketing

  • Create social media channels and populate
  • Grow followers b2b for SEO
  • Give individual advice to high profile sporting personal on content strategy for their own social media channels

England Footballers Foundation

  • Social media content strategy and calendar to grow followers and engagement
  • Work with the players themselves to create content, tweets etc

Core Responsibilities:

  • Hands on approach to create, implement and populate the strategy for the 1966 groups social media presence across existing platforms on a day-to-day basis.
  • Daily moderation, content updates, monitoring and community management of social platforms
  • Provide your own creative flair and social media expertise
  • Reporting to key internal stakeholders on new and emerging social media platforms and wider market trends.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • A minimum two years relevant digital/social media experience.
  • Displays in-depth knowledge and understanding of Social Media platforms and their respective participants (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+Local, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc) and how each platform can be utilised in different scenarios
  • Some background knowledge of Public Relations would be useful
  • Possesses ability to identify potential negative or crisis situations and apply conflict resolution principles to mitigate issues
  • Strong project management or organisational skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Must be comfortable with out-of-hours work and working reactively to tight deadlines.
  • Knowledge of and interest in football and its unique position within social media.
  • Track record of increasing reach and engagement through own ideas and individual management of social accounts.
  • Demonstrates creativity and documented immersion in social media, and can provide examples.
  • Familiarity with social monitoring tools.
  • A team player with confidence to take the lead and guide other employees where necessary.
  • Familiarity of working with high-profile figures.


Applications should be sent into enquiries@1966.com






#CoolJob: Audience Development Researcher – FullTimeDEVILS


Audience Development Researcher – FullTimeDEVILS



ASAP – Dec (possibly permanent)



– to grow the FullTimeDEVILS audience by building relationships on YouTube, other social media platforms, football websites and mainstream media

– to maintain and optimise the FullTimeDEVILS YouTube channel

– management of the FullTimeDEVILS accounts on various social media platforms

– generating editorial ideas and assisting team with video production



– an avid Manchester United fan with knowledge of the club, community and local area

– working knowledge of YouTube and social media platforms

– confident short form writing/blogging ability

– working knowledge of video production techniques

– self-starter; willing to create and maximise opportunities for the channel

– applicants should be comfortable in a football environment

– ability to work under pressure and in a fast-turnaround/news environment



– good contact list within football blogging community

– video editing experience (Final Cut, Adobe Premiere)

– basic video shooting skills

– basic image editing (Photoshop, After Effects)

– website SEO experience

– on-camera vlogging/presenting experience



London/Manchester – travel will be required





Please send your covering letter and CV into Neil Smythe on neil@resolutionsquare.com



Why Vine is becoming a nightmare for the Premier League

Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Senior Social Exec at communications agency, Pitch. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk), LinkedIn and his blog

It arrived with quite a media force, “Premier League set to clamp down on unofficial Vine videos of goals as they get tough on copyright laws” announced the Independent, who were amongst a number of leading publications to debate the issue. We knew it was coming. It had to. Rights holders weren’t just going to sit-by and let it happen.

Policing it is a different matter, and one that the Premier League, Vine and Twitter will have their hands-full in achieving. Certainly, fans don’t seem too bothered by the warning so the ball is absolutely in the court of the Premier League to make a headline statement. One week on from the Premier League announcement, however, and Vine has given the Premier League another real headache.

In (finally) announcing an update, Vine has given users the opportunity to upload clips to the app, and edit clips within the app. We now have slow-mo, as well as being able to merge Vines together and all of this can be previewed and undone. Editing can go up to several layers of camera tools, such as focus lock, ghost mode and torch mode (for shooting in low-light).

This is a whole different ball-game, and one that rights-holders will not relish taking on. There will be a number of Twitter users eyeing-up this update with a view to starting historical sports accounts, for example, and these accounts will be especially difficult for rights-holders to police because it’s available to all.

Of course, users have been able to do this for a while, via a couple of methods. Nike for example have been doing this with hugely success.

However, the more casual consumer now has the control, and rights holders will have to be conscious of the use of historical content as policing live content is far easier than the murky world of older content.

So what does this all mean for the content on Vine? Well, we ran a little Twitter poll on whether this change was a good thing for fan engagement, or whether, in fact, it would limit the creativity of Vine users. Opinions were largely divided. Here are a few of the responses:

All very fair points, and there will be evident examples of each, I’m sure. What needs to be avoided, is Vine just becoming another simple media platform that shows short ads with little platform-specific effort. In its favour, Vine’s six-seconds means that users still have fit that content into such a short period of time and creativity is required to achieve that. For me, I’ll likely record the video on my normal camera and upload to Vine. This provides a better starting quality for content. Really, if there’s an appetite to create great Vine-specific content (and there’s a strong argument to say there should be), then the creativity won’t drop. What Nike does is still creative – it just takes more behind the scenes work before uploading.

What do you think? Will the creativity of the content on Vine improve or be lost? Will the Premier League lose its battle with Vine copyright infringers?