Best Fan Engagement by a Club
Aston Villa FC
The ‘Part of the Pride’ campaign aims to put fans at the heart of the club and to unify everyone and everything. This overarching brand marketing campaign is used across all marketing, forms part of the club’s charitable arm Aston Villa Foundation and our equality diversity programme AllIn.
Developing our fan experience and building and rewarding loyalty has been a central priority for us, and so a campaign that is agnostic of results on the pitch but focuses on the emotional connection between fans themselves and with the Club gave us a platform to face the challenges met by any brand marketing team head on, while truly engaging our fans and driving commercial results.
From receiving over 284k mentions across social media and engaging over 116k fans with activations, to consistently breaking commercial records across Kit Launches (+260% up year-on-year) and Season tickets (+161% up year-on-year), #PartOfThePride is now well and truly a part of our Club’s brand and something all of us, fans and staff alike, are extremely proud of.
Cardiff City FC
Following Cardiff City FC’s recent promotion to the Premier League, we’ve noticed a natural increase in attendance and general interest in the Club thus far, whilst season ticket sales have increased phenomenally from last season to this season. One of the biggest targets we face as a Club now is to maintain, if not increase this figure over the forth coming seasons regardless of performance and results on the pitch – we aim to do this through the strength of our fan engagement strategy.
Although the actual match-day experience is something we believe should create a positive impact on our fans, regardless of the end result after ninety minutes, we also believe that non-matchdays and our strategy to engage with local schools, groups and communities is indeed fundamental.
In collaboration with health & fitness guru and Chelsea fan, Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach, the club hosted the first ever High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session inside a football stadium, aptly named #HIITONTHEPITCH. With DJ Marvin Humes providing the tunes, Joe led two pulsating sessions on the hallowed turf at Stamford Bridge, streamed live across Chelsea FC & Joe’s Facebook and YouTube, allowing 1200+ fitness enthusiasts to work out, with thousands more taking part online.
Attendees shared once-in-a-lifetime snaps on the pitch, received a branded tote bag, and even got the chance to meet Joe. The unique setting and giant HIIT ON THE PITCH lettering in the goalmouth provided perfect photo opportunities, with hundreds of posts across Twitter and Instagram generating reach and driving brand heat.
This activation was part of a wider ‘beyond football’ marketing strategy. Joe Wicks proved to be a perfect brand fit, providing an authentic voice with a highly engaged audience passionate about health & fitness. The event allowed the club to start growing the appeal of the brand through a previously untapped vertical.
Watch the video: https://vimeo.com/278464294
Everton Football Club is known throughout world football as ‘The People’s Club’; a name given because of our relentless efforts to connect with our fans, to give them experiences – on and away from matchdays – they will never forget, and our unrivalled connection with our community through our charity. These are the things that make Evertonians ‘Proud to be Blue’ and we continue to work tirelessly to continue to build and develop this unique connection and affection with our fans that we protect so fiercely We listen to and engage with our fans on a daily, hourly and minute-by-minute basis We share responsibilities, allow fans to join in and make decisions that shape the club they love, and we pull together and stand together when needed.
We consider ourselves a ‘family’ and we are proud of how we live and breathe values that underpin any family The 201718 season saw the Club’s Fan Engagement department challenge themselves to further develop these values and build on the special relationship that the Club has with its fans and so ‘Creating Memories’ was formed – giving us the opportunity to bring ‘to life’ experiences that Evertonians will talk about forever.
Fulham FC’s commitment to strengthening the bond between the Club and its supporters by signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the FST, is just one aspect of engagement with fans.
A summary of three core objectives establish this season are as follows:
1.Continue to grow the number of juniors and families attending matches at Craven Cottage
– Look to achieve a strong junior season ticket renewal rate as well as attract new fans.
– Build on a close relationship with our FFC Foundation and the local community to assist in communicating initiatives the Club has to offer
2.Commitment to delivering an outstanding match day experience for all fans
– Key emphasis placed on ensuring Craven Cottage delivers the warmest possible welcome and that all fans are informed ahead of their visit.
– Having an matchday entertainment schedule that offers something for everyone, involving supporters in our decision making.
3.Strengthen the Club’s engagement through a variety of initiatives in 2017
– creating memorable experience on match days and non-match days, as well as enhancing our dialogue with supporters (as seen with the MOU signing) and our local community.
– improving the Club’s online interaction to make all fans of Fulham feel closer to the Club.
Huddersfield Town FC
Huddersfield Town are a Yorkshire football team that play in the Premier League. A key part in our promotion from the EFL was through Fan Engagement, by improving the atmosphere in the Stadium, and then continuing this into our Premier League matchday experience. Our drivers were to keep this excellent experience going, involve the fans both young and old, and be recognised throughout the league for our atmosphere.
With items such as our Fanzone, Terrier Brass, FanKlappers, themed games (including a celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Dog), the Cowshed Loyal and more, we introduced a number of new initiatives to help us to make our experience unique.
In the Premier League match day fan experience survey at the start of 2018, the Club scored 4.9 out of 5 for match day atmosphere and 4.8 out of 5 for overall match day experience.
The Club also came top in the BBC Price of Football Survey for 2017/18.
Leicester City FC & DJS Research
In 2017, Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) commissioned DJS Research to conduct a research project focused on disabled access at King Power Stadium, the home of The Foxes.
By engaging with disabled fans, stakeholders and experts, the team were able to gain insight and understanding into the experiences of disabled fans throughout the Club.
Following research stemming from detailed supporter case studies, interactive reports and engaging video output from button-hole camera footage, LCFC have since implemented a raft of improvements throughout the Club. These include, but are not limited to – accessible kiosks, improved ticketing systems, an ‘at seat’ service, fully accessible changing rooms and disabled access lines in the stadium Fanstore.
“I think every club should go through this approach – every club should go through a detailed consultation with their supporters” – Expert Interview.
Faced with the challenge of making the transition from the biggest fan-owned club in England to being owned by the family of American businessman Michael Eisner, the incoming Board of Portsmouth FC took the strategic decision to continue to embrace and enhance the fan engagement which had served it so well under community ownership. The first key test for the new regime was around re-designing the club crest to protect the brand. Through a structured consultation process with supporters through the engagement channels honed in the previous five years, the end result was a crest fans almost universally endorsed. From the Heritage Board, which has supporters’ trust representatives as an integral part of scrutinising the executive, through to a Fans’ Conference to engage with the wider fan base, Pompey has a scheduled and structured mechanism for having dialogue with fans. More ad hoc supporter events, attended by the senior management team, help build trust, while supporter polls, allowing genuine feedback which is taken on board, we believe that Portsmouth FC is among the most forward-thinking clubs in terms of supporter engagement in the country.