The Work Needs to Ladder Back

The start of every season in any sport is always one of my favorite times. There’s no better time for marketers to get inspiration. From stunning graphics packages to hype videos, teams and leagues go all out with their best of the best.

While all the content and creative is always amazing, sometimes it feels like we’re consuming missing pieces vs a puzzle that works together. Too often the content landscape feels like a bunch of one-off ideas combined. We have hashtags to promote teams. We have a hype video here and an emotional video there. We have graphics that stop us in our feeds. But, very rarely, do these things ladder back to a larger narrative and idea.

Think about it. In one single day, a team releases their hashflag for a season that’s focused on one message or something generic like their team name. An hour later, a hype video is released that channels another narrative. Then an epic graphic is dropped promoting 24 hours until game day with no unique message at all (like it could come from any team).

This might sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to. The work from teams every year is incredible. But I keep wondering, what if we approached our content strategy a little more diligently? What if we stopped using our channels as a dumping ground and truly gave ourselves permission to focus on what matters? What if our content mapped back to defining our brand and its values?

Our fans see so many messages today from every corner of the internet. If you work for a team, your channels aren’t the only entity covering it. From the league to the media to the fans themselves, plenty of people are sharing content around your team and its players. Your job isn’t just to cover the team; it’s to bring the brand to life.

What does your team stand for, beyond the scores? If you don’t have a sharp point on what your brand stands for – and a plan that ladders back to it– you are going to muddle the message. And, that does not leave a lasting impression. We must take the time to define our brand strategy, and then, create a plan that rallies around bringing that position to life.

The work can be so much more impactful if we take the time to understand the bigger picture. We should make a more conscious effort to move away from the one-offs. We need to move to a holistic view of our brand, our content, our channels, our communities. In the end, it’s work with a sharp point – and a reason for being — that will leave a lasting impression.

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