Brands have long recognized that sport allows them to tell stories to a captive audience in an authentic, impassioned and credible way, albeit an audience increasingly stretched by the flood of messaging in this area.
However, this is no longer enough. The next evolution of this, which the brave have already ventured into, is the requirement to take a stand and represent ‘something’. Philanthropy, cause and purpose through sport will become more and more prevalent, ensuring it’s not just the norm for some brands but for all.
The world now looks to brands to drive culture and movement, and this represents an opportunity to those who tread boldly (and well), but a threat to those who move badly or, even worse, stay still. This is particularly prevalent within sport where the audience is fiercely defensive about their interests and one false move can alienate them forever. Get it right though and you will capture advocates who are as passionate about your brand as they are about their pursuit.
There will undoubtedly be big winners and big losers and many, many mistakes will be made, but regardless, 2019 will be the year many make the move to move their audience.
Chris Gratton, Head of Sports & Entertainment