How to Use Storytelling to Market Your Sports Team
When it comes to marketing and promoting your team, there is no shortage of opportunities and different ways to get in front of your audience. Social media platforms, your website, your email list, and various offline marketing methods are a great place to share updates about your team and get your fans hyped up before a big match.
The downside of this approach is that it’s hard to differentiate yourself from other sports teams in your arena. However, there is one marketing tactic that can help you not only stand out but also to establish a much better relationship with your existing and potential fans.
The tactic in question is known as storytelling and in today’s post, we’ll talk about what storytelling is, look at a few known sports brands effectively using storytelling, and show you how you can use it to your advantage.
What is Storytelling?
To put it simply, storytelling is the use of authentic and real stories by an organization such as a corporation, large commercial brand or sports team to grow awareness about their brand and build a strong sense of customer loyalty.
The term is often used as brand storytelling and it has become a powerful marketing principle by which large brands are able to create a relatable picture in their ideal customer’s mind.
Storytelling in marketing involves creating a narrative and sharing it through various channels; from the brand’s website, across their social media profiles, all the way to public relations and paid advertising.
Sports Brands Using Storytelling
Nowadays, more and more brands are starting to use storytelling in their marketing, including big-name sports brands. Below are three examples of sports brands making use of storytelling.
1. Under Armour – Rule Yourself
The first example comes from Under Armour, a brand of sportswear that offers plenty of examples of successful storytelling marketing. One of the most powerful examples is their campaign Rule Yourself which tells the story about sacrifices athletes make in their day-to-day lives and the pure joy they feel during training sessions.
Another example of Under Armour’s storytelling campaigns titled, I Will What I Want, showcases an example of tremendous dedication and willpower by ballerina Misty Copeland that helped her overcome misconceptions about the ideal ballet body.
2. Nike – Unlimited You
Nike already does an excellent job of relating their philosophy that says all of us are athletes if we have a body. Pair that with an awesome tagline and you have a winner. However, Nike takes this approach a step further in their marketing by using storytelling to show us athletes who go above and beyond limitations to achieve even greater results.
Their Failure campaign featuring Michael Jordan is another, older storytelling campaign that shows us even the most successful people fail plenty of times before reaching success – a story that anyone can relate to and instantly feel better about themselves.
3. Adidas – Creativity is the Answer
The last example comes from Adidas and their recent campaign during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the short video, Adidas shows examples of creativity not only when it comes to creating products but in sports and everyday life as well.
Three Ways to Use Storytelling to Market Your Sports Team
Every brand, no matter how big or small, has a story to tell. Let’s take a look at how you can use this principle to market your sports team.
1. Share Your Origin Story
As we’ve mentioned earlier, every brand has a story. The reason it came to be and the reason why it continued to exist. Use the storytelling method to share your origin story, how your team was formed, why it was formed, and what it stands for.
2. Share Stories from Your Fans
Another way to use storytelling is to share stories from your fans. These can be stories about why they love sports, how they relate to your team, fans caught using your team’s merchandise during the off-season, and more. You can also prompt them to send stories to you about spending time with the team and how they feel during and after the game, what motivates them to come to every match. Stories like these are the best way to reach a new audience and turn them into loyal fans.
3. Share Team Member Stories
Just as your team has a story, so does every team member. Ask them if they would be willing to share their story with your audience. Whether it’s their reason for getting into your particular sport, how they train without the team, any struggles or obstacles they’ve had to overcome, their stories can inspire and motivate generations of future athletes to come.
Where to Use Storytelling
Here are four places where you can start using storytelling to grow your sports team brand.
1. Your Website
When it comes to your website, the ideal places to use storytelling are the About page, team member profiles, and your blog. Your About page is a great place to share your origin story and make you instantly more relatable not only to potential fans but also sponsors and donors. You can also share individual team member origin stories on their profile pages.
Your blog, on the other hand, is a great place to share stories about overcoming obstacles and finding the motivation to keep practicing the sport you love.
2. Social Media
Social media is probably the most obvious place to use storytelling, especially on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. While you can use storytelling randomly, consider starting up a weekly series that ties in with a popular hashtag such as #MotivationMonday to share stories about your team on a regular basis.
Social media is also the perfect channel to feature your fans and share their stories. This motivates them not only to keep coming back and engaging with your profile but also to re-share the post with their network.
3. In Digital and Print Advertising
Paid advertising can help you sell your next game as well as get on the radar of potential sponsors. Use storytelling to pique their curiosity and give them a reason to support you and your team.
4. In Your Weekly Emails
Lastly, use storytelling in your weekly emails to stay in touch with your fans and patrons during the off-season. You can creatively incorporate holidays and traditions when appropriate as well as share user-generated content ie. your fans’ stories.
Elevate Your Team Marketing Efforts With Storytelling
As you can see storytelling can be a powerful way to promote your sports team. Use the tips above to come up with your own unique ways of incorporating storytelling into your marketing and don’t forget to download our storytelling cheatsheet.