On September 5th, Bloomberg Business Week published an article with the title “How the NFL Woos Female Fans.” Within the article the NFL’s Vice President Brand & Creative, Jaime Weston explains some of the reasons behind the push:
“About four years ago, there was a push, recognizing how many women fans we have, that we need to speak to them. And while they follow the game like every other fan, like our male fans, they do want to be spoken to in a little bit different way.”
The article goes on to share the efforts the league will make to reach out to female fans, including a special insert in Marie Claire, print ads, TV spots and the pop-up boutiques called “style lounges.” Note that this push began four years ago.
This morning, I watched the 10am Chargers game, drank my coffee and perused Pinterest. I checked out the NFL’s account. I am disappointed. Where is the strategy? Knowing that (still) nearly 80% of pinners are women, it would seem that a well developed Pinterest strategy would help the NFL connect with precisely the audience it wants to woo. I would think that the stats for purchasing power alone would lure the NFL to Pinterest. Here’s a screenshot of what the NFL has going at the moment:
Haphazard attempt, it appears. In the “NFL” board, there are roughly 530 pins. And the content is all over the place. Some of it is news, some of it is cool photography, some of the pins are uploaded, some are repins. For many of the photos which are uploaded by the NFL, the URL redirects you to the Pinterest account, not to the NFL site or blog or press or the store. There is no care in the captions and no strategic use of hashtags. All I can think is, “Some dude who totally doesn’t get Pinterest must be running this account.”
In fact, on the board titled “NFL Store,” many of the products are not from the NFL store, but from Amazon. The seven pins on the “NFL- Women’s Fashion board have nothing to do with football at all and look like an Amazon wish list of the person behind Pinterest. Speaking of which…The two main boards are managed by multiple people, people who do not look to be affiliated with the NFL. On the “NFL” board, these accounts are also pinning.
And on the “NFL Store” board, these two accounts have been added as managers.
Who are these people and how are they representative of the NFL? Is this is an NFL Official account at all? And what do you know … This website, note the address – nfloffical.org – and the random Pinterest accounts behind it appear to be the very unofficial NFL organization presenting themselves as the real National Football League.
FUMBLE! Wow. I cannot possibly be the first person who has followed this train of thought.
The NFL needs to get a handle on this – and quick. This nflofficial.org account has accumulated 15,570 followers (people who likely believe that this is the real NFL account). NFL Official, the largest of accounts with “NFL” in their name, is completely misrepresenting the league. Essentially, the NFL has NO presence on Pinterest. The NFL is SO missing an opportunity to woo its female fans via a major social network dominated by women.
How can the NFL get set up on Pinterest and truly connect with female fans? Here are a few of the boards I would set up:
- One board per team (and work with each team’s digital media director to insist that all 32 teams are following a similar Pinterest strategy so that repins are stategized).
- NFL News (linking back to the NFL site and the blog and news stories)
- NFL Players (stories featured in any publication or news outlet)
- NFL Moms (Think Campbell’s soup)
- NFL Biggest Fans (Feature fans from around the league)
- Together We Are Football (Feature the stories of fans as on the site. Let most likes, repins, comments help decide who goes to the SB.)
- NFL History (great old photos from the archives)
- NFL Films (also from the archives)
- NFL Fantasy Football (feature what’s happening in the leagues)
- NFL Store (general products)
- NFL Women’s Style
- NFL Men’s Style
- NFL Kid’s Style
- Homegating (term pulled from the Bloomberg article)
- NFL Sponsors (always good to place nice)
- Superbowl Champions
- Superbowl History
- Football Movies
- NFL Guest Pinner Week #1(this could be a contest and feature one new pinner each week)
….I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The pins of each of these boards would strategically link back to nfl.com, the NFL store, sports publications, etc. Of course, the account would repin, comment and use hashtags just as strategically. And all of this effort is measurable. Through web analytics and even Pinterest’s analytics. Is the Marie Claire insert measurable? How much will the TV spots cost? How will the NFL measure the direct impact of a TV spot?
It’s almost inconceivable that the NFL has completely ignored Pinterest and even worse that some totally random people (who don’t even appear to be football fans) have intercepted the NFL brand on the network. It’s 3rd and goal, NFL. Will you take it into the endzone for a touchdown? I’m always wooed when my team scores.
(Feature image directly from the Bloomberg article: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-05/how-the-nfl-woos-female-fans)
Last night I spoke with another group of undergrads, this time at UCLA. I was, again, surprised with the small numbers of students who have LinkedIn accounts, especially students who are graduating. We have got to get these young adults up to speed on better use of social media!
When I conduct these seminars, I provide students with both the good and the bad of social media. It’s important to show them how easy it is to make a major mistake, but also give them some good examples to follow. They need inspiration as much as they do a wake up call.
One of the things that stuck with my group last night, was the lesson that it’s not just about what you say, but also what you like. Facebook’s search has become much more powerful with the release of Open Graph. You can search for things like “My friends who like dogs,” or “People who live in San Diego who go to SDSU and like surfing.” These searches will produce results with a list of profiles. At UCLA, I targeted the search for members of the group who like “partying”and “Drinking” and such.
Luckily enough, one of the audience members popped up in my search results. He was amazed, as well as all of his friends. But it is terrific when this happens in real time. This young man ‘Liked’ almost 300 pages on Facebook. He admitted that he could not remember everything he liked and had no idea that he could be found by non-friends via the search function.
As I’ve said many times, Beaming Bohemian exists to infuse communication with positivity and purpose. In the case of these students, I enjoy to helping them find their positive purpose and new approach for using social media. If they begin to see how the professional world is using tools like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to conduct business, market, communicate and recruit employees, they begin to look at how they can take advantage of these platforms, versus just socializing. Students easily pick up how they need to fix and build their image and manage their reputation.
When I speak with students and professionals about personal branding, the point of authenticity usually comes up. For instance, one graduate student asked me this month, “But if all we post are positive messages and strategic images, isn’t that being fake?” It was a good question and and understandable concern. First and foremost, personal branding is all about being YOU. There is no one else like you on this entire planet. Leveraging your unique value propositions, just as a global brand would, is the best way to promote your personal brand. Just as global brands and some of the most famous personal brands work to define their image and present themselves in a positive light, so should any individual.
In this digital age, everything you post online – from pictures, to messages, to comments on a blog – leaves a digital footprint. Nothing – NOTHING – is private online. Out of context, that one drunken photo or that nasty gossip session in the Facebook group, can easily become a determining factor in your next career move. Most companies are looking at your skills and ability, but also to see if there is anything that makes you a liability to their organization. If they hire you, you are a representative of their brand. If you cannot make the effort to manage your own brand, why should they believe you will exemplify theirs? Personal branding is not about creating a squeaky clean and false representation of you. Personal branding is the art of highlighting all the qualities and characteristics which make you awesome, unique and special – YOU. Social media provides tremendous opportunities to let the world know who you are, to connect directly with your audience and to build your brand.
One often over-looked item in our personal brand is our e-mail address. While promoting my Social Media in College Athletic Recruitment event, I ran across several unprofessional e-mail addresses. If you are making an effort to polish your professional image and personal brand, please don’t forget to establish a professional e-mail address. If you’re not convinced at the impact “4crybbz@” or “puppygirlz@” can have on your career, take a moment to read this article from NBC News. An excerpt:
Tamanini collected 200 e-mail monikers from various sources, including university professors. He showed 20 of the e-mail names to each of 200 college students and asked them to rate the names on five criteria — success, ethical caring, popular fun, degree of masculinity and degree of professionalism.
E-mail names deemed unprofessional included: alliecat@, bacardigirl@, bighotdaddy@, drunkensquirl@, foxylady@, gigglez217@.
Those e-mails considered professional received higher ratings of success than unprofessional names, which correlated better with ethical caring, popular fun and masculinity.
I’m sure you’ll find that you can easily establish an e-mail address that won’t steal the spotlight away from your true talents and skill set! Just don’t forget how your e-mail address is a direct reflection of you.
“Everything you do online is like a tattoo you get late at night that can never be erased.”
This is a perfect analogy for what is happening in the world of social media. We forget that the drunk photos, snarky comments and threatening tweets remain “out there” forever once we’ve offered them to the internet. NOW is the time to take care of what you say, how you say it and what you post online.
I read a tweet just the other day which said, “Now that I’m getting to the business end of my PhD, I think it’s about time I bulk up my LinkedIn profile.” Why wait? You should worry about your online profile, your social reputation NOW. The hiring managers, recruitment officers and admissions offices do not care that you’ve been too busy to manage your reputation.
You’ll see many more articles about social reputations helping and/or hurting individuals and companies in 2013. My goal is to keep you informed as to how best to use social media to build your personal and professional brands, develop strategic communication and plan your content to stay ahead of the competition. Allow these social sites to work in your favor, not be your demise. Together, let’s make 2013 a late night tattoo-free year.
Just for fun, here’s a link to and MSN article – 30 Bad Tattoos. Warning. These are REALLY bad.
Happy New Year! Indeed, the roller coaster that was 2012 is behind us. I am grateful. As the clock struck midnight on 12/31, I was eager to welcome 2013. From everyone’s posts on Twitter and Facebook, it seems you are equally enthusiastic about a clean slate. Without going into tremendous detail, I will simply say that 2012 was not my favorite year. I am enthusiastic for this New Year and a refreshed spirit.
One thing to know about me… I do not make resolutions for the New Year. Sure, I’ve set a few personal goals about health and exercise, even deciding that I would not eat a bite of fast food this year, but I prefer to determine a theme for the New Year and let everything I do speak to that theme. While resolutions are easy to break, it’s not so easy to “break” your theme for the year.
My theme for 2012 was Rise & Shine and that largely had to do with my business. My life continues to revolve around my business and is dictated by it’s every breath. Still in its infancy in 2012, I suffered the growing pains many entrepreneurs who are operating on a shoestring budget experience. I made great progress in 2012, even though there were some struggles mixed in the bag. What matters most is that I ended 2013 on a high note and am poised to carry my shiny torch into the New Year.
And so with that, I wanted my 2013 theme to embody the spirit of momentum and moving forward. “Onward & Upward” was under consideration as was “As The Crow Flies.” In my search for the meaning of certain words and phrases, I discovered a great site which explains the meaning, origin and history of many of these types of sayings (Click HERE).
What I zoned in on, was a theme with a sports reference, a competitive spirit and that determination I need to carry me through the year on a very bright note. Ladies and gentleman, my 2013 personal theme is, “Knuckles Down, Chin Up, GAME ON!” Think of a football team’s offense at 4th and inches, getting set on the line of scrimmage. The game-winning touchdown is at stake and as they put their knuckles down on the grass, lift their chin with the positive attitude and belief they will score, and dig deep inside their own being as they wait for the signal from the QB. Once they hear it, it is totally – Game ON! And that moment, that energy and impetus is what I want to capture and strive for and maintain in 2013.
I have much – so much – to accomplish this year, both personally and professionally. You can bet your bottom dollar that with this fire in my belly and my eye on the endzone, that I will exceed my goals. Yes, it is a Happy New Year and I look forward to a 2013 full of W’s.
Have you ever thought of creating a personal theme? If you were to chose a theme for 2013, what would it be? Share your themes, goals, and resolutions in the comments.
This tweet landed in my stream today:
— Tariq Ahmad (@tariq_ahmad) October 15, 2012
And it immediately got me thinking about what Crock-Pot could have cooked up for marketing this awesome new product!
I mean … look at that! Your favorite team’s colors and logo is on a Crock-Pot! Die-hard football fans are likely to be the same people who consume the most chili on this planet. How many times have you been to a football party where chili was served? Crock-Pot, the NFL and chili are nearly a branding match made in heaven!!!
And so, I keep scratching my head as to why the release of this perfectly branded product is so ill-timed and flying very under the radar. My marketing instincts were shouting at me…Here’s what I would have done, if I were the marketing guru at Crock-Pot:
Once the approval from the NFL was received to use the team colors and logos on a crockpot, I would have then reached out to each team’s Community Relations Director. Together, we would have held chili contests in the summer time, keeping the buzz going and engaging fans for all teams in the off season. For each team, a winning chili recipe would have been selected to accompany the team Crock-Pot. So if you bought the San Diego Chargers Crock-Pot, the San Diego fan’s winning chili recipe would be inside. Wait, there’s more!
The product would have been released shortly before pre-season with an ad-campaign featuring the chili recipe winners from each team. Crock-Pot could have partnered with S&W to feature the award-winning ingredients of football’s chili recipes (side note, but still a good opportunity). Through the season, there would be chili cook-offs across the nation between the recipe winners featured in the team-themed Crock-Pot. Could have been set up like a tournament where the brackets are put up online and you follow your team’s chili recipe winner through the brackets. That would have led to a Superbowl Sunday chili cook-off finale extravaganza to determine which team’s fan had the winning recipe in all the league. Imagine the commercials. You could end up with some rare “live commercials” campaign during the Superbowl.
The social media marketing, promotion and engagement opportunities would be endless. Voting could have occurred online, in addition to the live chili cook-off events. People who try the included recipes could give reviews, share photos, etc. Fan participation surrounding the competition on the field and for the Crock-Pot chili challenge would spike. Gazillions of NFL Crock-Pots would have been sold. And there would be millions of satisfied bellies full of chili.
Really – how tough is it NOT to see the possibilities here? This is common sense to me. What a huge opportunity missed by Crock-Pot and the NFL. I mean, REALLY! If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out of the Crock-Pot!
How would you have marketed this product?