ON N.J. SPORTS MARKETING
Many times the more elite or more traditional brands in sports rarely venture away from the way things are done. You will never see the Yankees wearing black game jerseys, Alabama football in bright orange, Manchester United donning stripes, the New York Rangers wearing pink, the Dallas Cowboys in day glo. It just doesn't happen, even with the temptation to sell more merch.
The steady tradition and way things are done is what makes the brand special in sport. Now that doesn't mean a brand cannot be progressive and react and grow with the needs of the marketplace. A great example of that growth is the Giants, and what they have done in the social media space heading into this weekend's Super Bowl.
Big Blue was not always the progressive brand. It was more slow and steady tradition, and that's what worked. However the more competitive marketplace and the thirst for positive information and identity with teams has led even the Giants into a solid and effective embrace of social media, the likes of which many teams can and will copy and benefit from.
Even with all the hoopla of the two weeks leading to Sunday's game, New York has found ways to capitalize on a season of cultivating the social media space, and has given their fans, and the brands that support them, ample bandwith to enjoy the experience from a digital perspective, even much more so than their opponents from New England have done.
Now does this mean we will see John Mara, or his mom Ann, take to Facebook and twitter this week, or Tom Coughlin talking trash with fans in the text world? No. What is does mean is key execs like Pat Hanlon, along with the team's digital media and broadcast department (and its announcers corps) have used the space effectively to engage and sometimes tantalize the fans, and have been able to use the open access channels to get out key information and show a side of the team that most fans don't get to see.
A great part of that access came to a head Thursday night, when the team hosted a set of hour-long Google+ hangouts with players as part of their Social Media Night campaign. The Google+ event, which featured Victor Cruz Corey Webster and Mark Herzlich was one of a series , in which the team will facilitate a series of conversations between fans and players.
The team also held a live webcast from the team hotel featuring players Jake Ballard, Steve Weatherford, Tyler Sash and Prince Amukamara, with fans submitting questions via Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and using the hashtag #NYGsocial. The Giants will randomly select 20 fans to join the sessions and participate in real time from wherever they were. It is controlled, smart, scalable and does not detract from the seriousness or the dedication the team is putting towards Sunday's game. It is building more fan loyalty for the long run, and is giving those who may only follow casually a chance to engage on an even larger scale through the digital space.