FEBRUARY
2019

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Written by
Ricardo Carvalho

 

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ARTICLE

HOW BRANDING WORKS ON SPORTS
 

In all possible environments in which brands exist, there is one that caught attention to attract a more emotional and faithful feeling of their customers: the sports branding. Clubs brands are loved and any company wants to have a brand as beloved as a club brand. Understanding what happens and how to take advantage of the lessons of sports brands is like discovering a secret.

 

The reasons presented here to understand the scenario are innumerable, starting with the role that sport represents in contemporary society and its fraternal connection with individuals. The biggest question is how to leverage club brands, which are seen today, for the most part, as out of business and consumer expectations. Fans are increasingly attracted to other entertainment activities, limited in time with work and other activities, and especially saturated by the form of digital communication. So, redefining becomes a word of survival in sports.

The sport has reached a point where business must be strengthened in all its aspects, and the image and role of a club, competition or athlete's brand must be strategically developed to strengthen its personality. In the last decade, the world of sports has suffered severe changes that can dictate the course of this product as a form of entertainment forever. It is time for the professionalization of all the administrative areas of sports entities.

And then being a business, we come up with a question: How to attract more consumers. In this case, more fans. In a market that is already saturated, the pursuit of fans is a matter of survival. The point is to understand the role of branding in sustaining and strengthening sport as a business. It is well known the role that marketing plays until then both by sports organizations and companies, but to apply branding practices in this management model is timely. Some of the most valuable brands in the world are sports brands. But not clubs. This makes the sports brands active in the business world as well. And the gap begins to emerge here: Big companies have great brands and values their image. Clubs, athletes and competitions still do not have this vision, and unfortunately poor in execution.

In the scope of the research, the areas of marketing, branding and administration in the sports environment are included in the study of this case. It mixes theory with practice to seek meaning that has value for both the areas described here. Branding and marketing activities need to be separated first, first by thinking about the role of the brand (when branding can be most effective) and then how to amplify the brand's voice (where marketing becomes more decisive).

In the sports environment, brands have developed differently from the traditional way we are accustomed. Companies are created with a goal, with a market demand to meet. They exist to solve the needs of their customers. Clubs, competitions and athletes, no. They exist for their own seeking of valorization and self-assertion of the ideals that are defended. So we have a different discourse in these environments, where companies seek to be experts in what they set out to do, while clubs continue to argue that they are better or even bigger than their competitors.

Branding then becomes a very important tool that helps sports organizations discover new parameters and differentiate their products from the competition. In a scenario in which most clubs offer, at first glance, their historical richness as a brand differential, one way of differentiating may be different. Branding is still a subject less addressed and therefore even less known and accessible to companies and sports entities, it is noticeable that the two disciplines are rather complementary and act at different stages of the process of building a brand.

 

"Branding then becomes a very important tool that helps sports organizations discover new parameters and differentiate their products from the competition."

It is clear that one of the biggest roles that branding can contribute to sports is to explore the possibilities of brand positioning of clubs, not only taking into account their history and current brand perception but also understand consumption patterns, the new perceptions that its fans and consumers have of their brand, and then propose a new path that aims at strengthening the business as one of the biggest goals from the point of view of the brand.

In the end, one must apply the potential of the sport as an engaging agent. Perhaps as one of the greatest virtues, branding has this increasingly strong role of questioning a market, what is around, the performances of competitors, and especially, this ability of self-questioning. To imagine how a brand can build a stronger company. In the case of clubs, a stronger institution. With greater memory of its admirers, with more consumers, with a positive reputation with respect to its image.

Branding is a proof that the answer to creating stronger brands and clubs and companies with more valuable business lies within the clubs themselves, from the moment they accept to understand their consumer and propose to them a new product, that fits their needs, which change with time.