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Creating brand loyalty with overseas fans.

How can my football club interact more with overseas fans? This is a question I am asked frequently by football clubs and marketers.  

And, the answer isn’t simple.  

There are however, a number of basic steps one could take to provide more engaging and last impressions for overseas fans.

Know your demographics – Acknowledge your key markets and focus on developing a strong presence and brand loyalty.  Social Media, fan groups, club sponsored events, strategic partnerships to name a few.  Understand the culture and identity of the market, who are these fans, why do they support my club?  Take into consideration belief’s and other cultural norms in each region. Partnerships with betting companies, alcohol, and certain other industries in particular regions may lead to awkward campaigns.

Social Media –  Social media is a very strong tool without boundaries. You can reach anyone around the world instantly. But is your social media campaign effective?    First of all determine your objectives.  

What are your goals?  Revenue or brand loyalty, maybe both? 

You could ask yourself, is my content capturing and engaging overseas fans?  Are fans feeling more or less involved with clubs matters? Are my social media campaigns generating revenues and creating lasting impressions from this fan group?  

Social media content produced by football club is generally a one shoe fits all approach.  Some football clubs produce light hearted sketches with players in short videos, but the problem when taking into account overseas fans is whether people of other regions fully understand the content and feel an impact has been made.    If there is a large minority in a certain target region you could make a case for providing dedicated content.  Key Opinion Leaders (KoL’s) are important to specific regions, especially if you are beginning a new high impact campaign of a certain country.  But, this can be expensive and doesn’t completely guarantee impact or consumer loyalty, you may wish to consider combining this approach with other marketing strategies and tools.  Make your content shareable.  More than 80% of sports fan consume sports related content using personal devices.  Respond to comments left by consumers on social media, fans want to be heard and a simple reply could ensure fan loyalty.  Schedule your social media campaigns according to the regional time zones.  Often marketers skip or overlook this and content goes unseen.  Provide instantaneous game updates across social media platforms.  If your club is embarrassing a new media platform, make the content unique to that platform.  TikTok is an exciting new tool which football clubs are embracing but often content is generally the same or cut down samples posted from other platforms.  Free infographics, gif’s or small media. All high impact methods of developing brand loyalty.

Partnerships –  Strategic partnerships is another way of engaging with overseas fans.  If you partner with an overseas company take into consideration their brand identity and reputation in other regions.  Also, overseas fans may feel more inclined to purchase merchandise because of a partnership/sponsorship with a famous and fashionable national or international brand. Sponsored events and club arranged activities are quick fire ways of creating a buzz internationally and expanding a brands loyalty with overseas fans.

Fan groups and official supporter clubs of overseas fans– Fan groups or official supporter clubs are often overlooked but can provide significant importance and a means for targeting revenue growth.  There are number of methods marketeers can take to develop these groups.  Most overseas fans wish to feel a part of an organisation or group and have more say in clubs matters.  Clubs should provide more access for fans to interact with management and vote on club matters.  Social media player Q&A’s is a fantastic means of providing a lasting impressions.  

Merchandise –  Ensure overseas fans have access to purchase official club merchandise from affiliate and trusted merchandisers.  Provide links or a mean to purchase official products through social media, official supporter groups and fans groups.  This may also help the fight against counterfeit products. 

If your football club or sports organisation are looking to develop their brand please feel free to get in touch. tomlongtom@outlook.com

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