The love for sports is global, but the ability that the National Basketball Association has shown in growing into such a global force cannot be attributed solely to the fact that people love the sport. It has a lot more to do with some serious marketing brilliance on the part of the NBA.
The NFL may still have the upper hand in the numbers for general season income and attendance, but with the growth trends in the NBA in the last decade, it is little wonder they have the NFL looking over their shoulders
The NBA has positioned itself for global dominance and there is no reason you cannot steal a page from their book. Here is how you can position your brand with some amazing marketing;
1. Develop line extensions for your brand.
The creation of the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) in 1996 was a savvy marketing move that kick-started the explosion in women’s support for the NBA in general. This came at a time when women’s interest in the sport was largely non-existent.
The NBA has since created other extensions like the NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association) and also the creation of extensions like NBA-China which has seen the NBA start generating almost $550 million in revenue per season from China.
Your business may not have the manpower to go this length, but a simple creation of different social media handles and pages that create a niche within your brand that addresses a specific desired market is a step in the right direction.
You may not be able to set up shop in a different country, but with the innovations in digital marketing, you can create, an “X stores/China” or “X stores/women” on diverse social media and employ target marketing to reach the desired untapped market.
2. Become a content generating machine.
If you want to understand how seriously the NBA takes Content marketing, visit NBA.com or any of the NBA teams’ websites. The steady in-flow of videos, articles, and blog posts has proven to be their major driver in getting visitors, creating engagement and getting subscriptions to their e-mail lists.
One word can define why the NBA seems to always be able to create engaging content is, “Personality”. Content devoid of personality will find it difficult to fly in the present day market. Infusing Fun into the game off the pitch has made watching the game itself more enticing to fans.
Content like this scare video of Dwight Howard and other players of the Houston Rockets, and Videos like this one showing some, NBA dance moves are examples of creative content on the NBA sites that has helped create a brand that shines with personality.
The idea is to seriously budget for creating content and maintaining engagement. Whether it is a commitment to one text and video content per day or twenty per month, you need to be innovative and consistent with it and to never forget to let your personality shine through.
Related: The NBA’s Marketing Superstar
3. Build external visibility.
The NBA has created a brand that is not easy to forget simply because they are seen everywhere you look, from Jerseys to billboards and more especially on Social Media. The official NBA Facebook page shares videos of old games reply to users directly and create surveys and other interactive content.
Most notably, the league has an official presence on the NBA Reddit page which now has over 745,000 subscribers, and before Vine went defunct, just under 100,000 videos on Vine were posted with the tag; NBA.
Your brand can build external visibility by focusing a lot more on your social media visibility, content and engagement, and by syndicating content on as many other sites as you can.
Many brands still have exclusive rights to post on their social media pages and handles, but switching it up a bit to encourage submissions from customers/Followers may see a rise in interest in your brand.
Sponsored content is also a great way to get your brands story on major online platforms. Entrepreneur’s sponsored content platform, for instance, is guaranteed to place your brand’s story before thousands of eyes.
Sponsored content has risen to be a major driver of digital marketing in the last 5 years and this has seen companies like getfluence, amongst a list of others, create amazing businesses around this singular marketing trend by connecting brands with influential platforms and creating content for such platforms.
4. Find ways to stay In the limelight.
Over the last decade, the NBA has performed a marketing miracle in their increased domination of the spotlight. The NBA has done this by, engraving itself in the one thing that is always being talked about; Pop-culture. So close is this association that Ex-stars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dennis Rodman have gone on to become movie stars.
The idea is to closely associate your brand with whatever is popular, this way you always remain in the conversation. If your brand is not yet big enough to get celebrity endorsements and involvements, you sure can start talking about them, before they start talking about you.
The association of your brand with sports, entertainment, etc in your on-site content and off-site content is a major way to get your name in the frequent conversations. For instance, you can start an “X stores Basketball review” series or finding a credible sports influencer to endorse your brand.
Association of your brand with things that already have a buzz should grow your brand awareness significantly.
5. Build on your brand consciousness.
In the words of Robert Patin, CEO at Patin & Associates, “Managing a business requires wisdom as much as it requires expertise, the challenge of businesses in 2019 will be competition, fragmentation and managing consistent performance”.
To assert your brand on a hugely fragmented market is indeed one of the greatest challenges of 21st-century businesses. The NBA seems to have done fine amidst competition from other sports associations.
More than a quarter of the players in the NBA are foreign-born, and in the 2016 NBA draft, an astonishing half of the draft class was international. Also, the NBA Cares philanthropic arm of the association has gone a long way in increasing the consciousness perception around their brand.
As Robert says, you need wisdom to assert your brand in a largely fragmented market. There are 3 steps you can take to building a noticeably conscious brand;
- Get involved in social causes: Any brand that is not yet somewhat involved in social causes is a fading brand
- Build a diverse employment roster: When taking steps to employ your new staff, consider the need for a diverse employee base. it speaks volumes of the inclusiveness of your brand
- Tailor your Marketing Images to show diversity or consciousness: A Mexican or Asian model on your brand marketing efforts will reach a Mexican or Asian market, faster than target advertisement would over time.
Your brand should reflect positive diversity. To do this the little things matter. for instance, a brand which caters to children may show their consciousness for autistic children by choosing colors and designs carefully as diverse designs have diverse effects on them.
Consciousness has never been as relevant to business as it is in our increasingly sensitive society. You should work on it.
The NBA’s influence is global and the game is amazing, but who knew that sports could save your brand as well?
Now, let’s go crush it!