Stock PhotoFor some it’s cats.

I recently took part in a self-discovery exercise in which I had to dig deep and figure out what makes me tick, what gets me out of bed every day. I love  Allie (who also loves cats), I love my friends and family, I love my job, I love food. All of those make life worth living.

But they aren’t Sports.

It doesn’t matter what the Sport is (I do have a clear belief as to what constitutes a Sport, but that can be for another day). The connection I feel when I’m watching football on Sunday, baseball any day, or the Australian Open at 3:00am on a Thursday morning is like no other. It’s exciting, comfortable, entertaining, fulfilling. I’m such a fan of Sports that no matter what happens in almost any game, I always walk away a winner because it’s a pleasure just to watch.
What is it about Sports that creates such an emotional connection? More importantly, since this is a blog about experiential marketing, what can we learn about Sports that will allow us to make the same kind of emotional connections between brands and consumers? Here’s how I see it:

Sports are the Center of Attention
First, despite the advertising, the food, the thousands of other people, Sports are still the center of attention at a sporting event. Some will argue that Beyonce was the show at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, but anyone who says that isn’t being honest with himself. I will gladly challenge anyone who truly believes that 100 million people would have watched a Beyonce concert if there was no Super Bowl game being played before and after her show.

Lesson 1: Give your brand the ability to be center of attention, whether the audience is 100 or 100,000,000.

People Share Sports
Love for teams and athletes is so easily shareable (especially with a beer in hand). From stats to player transactions to wins & losses, Sports provides so much content to talk about – the stories are endless. It’s so easy for Sports to be woven into our everyday lives.

Lesson 2: Make sure your brand gives people stories to tell, and give them ways to share those stories, most easily through your social media channels.

Sports Produce Winners
Most of us are innately competitive. Every play, every point and certainly every game provides an outcome that has the ability to fulfill a competitive desire. When our favorite teams or athletes win, we vicariously win through them. Endorphins kick in and next thing you know there’s this natural high that only winning can produce.

Lesson 3: Position your brand as a winner, and allow others to win with your brand.

More than any other marketing medium, a well-integrated experiential campaign allows your brand to be at the center of attention, share the experience with others and, of course, compete and win with your consumers. The deep emotional connections that Sports enjoy can be achieved by brands with high standards and the right experiential marketing plan.

Now let’s get this Fantasy Marketing league off the ground!