Ryan Stephens Marketing

Engagement Marketing from America’s Best Sports Brands

So first of all I apologize for the lack of updates, but as I’ve alluded to if you follow me on Twitter, the 80+ hour work weeks are really hindering my ability to blog. One of my jobs this summer entails teaching foreign scholars (over on a grant) about the great American sports brand. The following is some of my notes from three speakers discussing the connection between sports marketing and their brands.

Disney’s Wide World of Sports -John Bisignano

  • You’ve heard that Disney doesn’t call their workers employees, but cast.
  • This is because service starts with people.
  • In Disney’s case, they have nine separate teams. This includes one just for hospitality. (Think about that, a whole team dedicated just to hospitality.)
  • Why are they a cast? Because they want to tell a story. (Good marketing is telling the right stories isn’t it?)
  • They want to touch the athletes at the grassroots level by having them participating at their facilities when they’re very young, throughout high school, at the collegiate level, all the way up until the pros (i.e. NFL training camp, spring training, etc.) –> They’re experiencing the brand throughout their life, it will continue to resonate.
  • They try to find the rockstars and appeal to them (great companies hire rockstars)
  • They have an ‘opportunity model’ which demands they uphold a high standard and eliminate roadblocks. (Example: They got criticized while hosting a huge soccer tournament for having bad referees so they implemented a referee academy.)
  • Their marketing input exchange is about creativity, vision, integration and innovation (does your business practice these things?)
  • They always strive to celebrate the athlete (do you celebrate your blog readers?)
  • “Intelligent risks, tolerating mistakes, respecting boundaries of taste, and having the right people in the right place to make the right choices,” Bob Iger – CEO of Walt Disney Company, when asked how they continue to succeed.

Toyota – Keith Dahl

  • Their ideology consists of making an emotional connection that leads to long term brand relationship. (Nothing new here, but certainly important to remind yourself if you’re on the right track sometimes, especially if your brand isn’t one that relies on impulse purchases).
  • 2 of Toyota’s 4 primary goals with their sport marketing initiatives is to build relationships and create a dialogue with the consumer. (Most good brands know this, but there’s a lot of brands that seem incapable of doing this effectively.)
  • Toyota aims to be relevant, resonant and distinct
  • There are often certain gaps in sports, their brand can alleviate.
  • For example, motorcross wants shade, internet access, etc.
  • Toyota delivers tents, engagement signs where fans can write things, free lunch, pressure washing, wireless internet tents, etc. (They listen to their customers and they actually improved the sport of motorcross. A sport that is heavily affiliated with heavy duty pickup trucks.)
  • They leverage partnerships building synergy with companies like Joe Gibbs Racing, the Dew Tour, and Bass Pro Shops.
  • They’re willing to enter a market and stumble and learn in order to earn their stripes and become a major competitor (i.e. NASCAR)
  • Obtaining advocates of their brand is the highest possible achievement for engagement marketing. (They’ve actually been featured in advertisements they were unaware of merely because of their goodwill towards motorcross, and other sporting relationships tied to the brand.)

Coca Cola & Sports

Coca Cola – Joe Prys

  • You have to connect whatever you’re trying to sell with the consumer. (There’s a reason all of these guys mention this eventhough it’s a given.)
  • Coca Cola draws on and from the passion of the brand, but also of the person and of the experience.
  • They do not consider there to be any mass markets, just lots of big niche markets. (This is a very interesting approach from a massive brand with a very wide reach.)
  • It’s more than just 360 marketing, there has to be plenty of relavent contact points. (Are the contact points of Ryan Stephens Marketing clear?)
  • Coca Cola is utilizing interactive media partners such as YouTube, Facebook, etc. (I hope some big brands get a late jump and still need a social media manager when I graduate in December.)
  • The company’s philosophy is supposed to be, “big, bold and inspiring.” (What’s your company’s philosophy?)
  • The hardest thing for a brand to do when interacting with respect to marketing (and I suspect with social media) is to remain cohesive across all mediums/platforms/locations, etc.

Final Thoughts:

1.) Are you telling a story with your brand that engages your clientele, co-workers, readers? If so, are you stories consistent with your brand’s philosophy and goals?
2.) Do you know the rockstars in your industry? Have you reached out to them? If not, leave a response on their blog, shoot them a quick email telling them you admire their content, connect with them via linkedin, interview them, offer to write a guest post for their site.
3.) Are you creating dialogue on your blog, with your company? Chris Brogan does this as good as anyone I know. If you are, are you truly listening to what your consumers want, what your readers are saying?
4.) Are you constantly adding value to your industry, community, etc. (not just your company) without any expectations of return?
5.) What is your companies philosophy? Your touch points. Better yet, what does your company do in as few as 500 characters? Why don’t you try it in the comments section?

  • http://marketingdeviant.com MarketingDeviant

    Nice article on engagement marketing of America. Those new coca cola packaging is part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic? Is interest how Disney refer to their employees as cast. Sounds like they are all acting in a Disney real life movie!


    admin Reply:

    @MarketingDeviant – Yes, the new Coca Cola packaging is part of a promotion affiliated with the 2008 Beijing Olympics. One of my professors as an entire bookcase decorated to different Coca Cola cans, I suspect he’ll love those bottles.

    As far as Disney goes, I think that by calling their employees ‘cast’ they’re purposely driving the mindset of those employees and the way they do business in a very positive way that is conducive to the overall Disney experience.


  • http://charliehoehn.wordpress.com Charlie Hoehn

    Nice post, Ryan. For some reason, I was also kind of surprised that Coke takes the “many big niches” approach vs. the mass market approach. They seem like the ultimate mass market product to me, and I suppose targeting so many small groups has helped them stay that way.

    How are those long work weeks treating you? I’m impressed that you’ve been able to hold it down on Squidoo and the Tribe.


    admin Reply:

    @Charlie – It was definitely a surprise to me too Charlie. I had certainly never thought of it that way, but a lot of big companies can do some phenomenal things by acting small and having the flexibility to adjust, etc. (much in the way a small company would).

    As far as the long work weeks, I’m on the fringe of burnout and at times at wits end (i.e. when I’m driving a 15 passenger van full of foreign scholars who are fighting over what song to listen to next on an ipod while I’m navigating between a 18 wheeler and a retaining wall going faster than I’d like – because I have no idea where I’m going and following another van.)

    I wouldn’t say that I’ve ‘held it down’ at Squidoo. I’m just thankful Seth gave us the opportunity to intern with him this summer, and glad that I was able to contribute as much, or more than most. I hope out little cliq of over-achievers can collaborate on something soon!