The MLS season kicks off Saturday February 26th beginning a busy 2022 for soccer fans around the world. An earlier start time then normal this year to account for the World Cup in November. With all eyes on soccer it’s important to provide your fans and supporters with engaging content 24/7 365 days a year. Tyler Gibbons has been doing this at a premier level, since joining MLS club Real Salt Lake in 2015. He’s served in many different roles from Director of Media Production to his current role as VP of Marketing and Game Presentation. With his time in the industry comes many stories, learning lessons and victories.
In this episode of #Storyteller, Tyler shares his expertise on building a brand voice, engaging your community and producing an interactive broadcast for the fans at home.
Advice to others who are working to develop their brand voice:
“Over Communicate. At the end of the day the biggest front facing platform you’re going to have is social media. That doesn’t mean it has to act differently than how you present yourself everywhere else. My thing with my group is I always say “What’s our goal? What’s the end goal? Then start there and work backwards.” I think once you understand what you’re trying to accomplish it’s pretty simple knowing steps you need to take to get to that goal. Although we’ve cleaned up the brand in the 9 years I’ve been with the club, we’re actually at a place where we understand who we are and what the community needs us to be. Last year we put a flag in the ground and said this is who we are. It’s no secret that RSL had a lot of bad news over the past few years on things that were out of our control. To reel everything back in and tear things down to the foundation and build it back up from there, with this new ownership group, that was really important for us – To know what it is we actually want to stand for. I encourage every brand, every team and every organization to do the same thing. Once you identify who you are, then you can say whether or not certain things meet your standards.”
Keys to a successful and engaging broadcast:
“Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Real Salt Lake have figured out how to maximize their TV product. There are a few key things that I see that connects all of them. One is an outstanding product from a Director, Producer and Talent side of things. Two is a dedicated fan base. Three is accessibility for all. We’re the only club that makes their games available for free over the air, local stream and on radio. For us about 100-thousand people are going to consume the product for free, which expands the brand. Then to engage fans in the broadcast, I have a crazy psycho named Brian Dunseth who is a wonderful and terrific talent, and I honestly think he’s the best color analyst in soccer in this country. But he has a unique skill set where he can literally tweet, call a goal, interact with a fan, and have 7 different conversations going at the same time. We’ve been leaning into that for years. There is a ‘Drink with Dunny’ game, a ‘Dunny Bingo’ game, there’s Tagboard involved. We have a lower third scroll where if you have a funny tweet with the right hashtag we’ll put you up in the middle of the game, halftime, postgame and pregame. Then when people see Dunny interacting, or the club interacting on these platforms, that creates a buzz and gets people organically involved and it snowballs from there. We’ve been doing it since 2013 and it just gets bigger and bigger each year.”
A specific activation you felt really succeeded at engaging your community:
“Our Supporters Secondary Kit launch that we did last year. Basically, we designed a kit for our supporters, in honor of our supporters. We went out of our way to get them involved in the design process. Went out of our way to get them involved in marketing and promotion. Then for everything to turn out as well as it did, ADIDAS used us as basically an example for how teams should run their kit promotion and launches. This year we’re doing another kit in honor of them called the believe kit. In honor of the 10 year anniversary of our famous believe chant. That’s what truly matters. Recognizing the people that hold you near and dear to their heart and how can you repay them. That’s what you want to do. You want to create lifelong fans. You want to make people care about your product 24/7 365, not just the Saturday’s they show up to your stadium.”
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