Here, we lean into the most buzzworthy topics at the 2022 Sports Business Journal’s Brand Innovation Summit. From data predictions, ideation and innovation constantly in motion, to the way consumer engagement continues to evolve. See our key takeaways to learn more.

1. Data is the Driving Force Behind all Decision-Making

Data has been the mantra for some time now, but brands and rights holders are doubling down on it to create new ways to connect to their audience at the right time and in meaningful ways. At this year’s summit, brands like FritoLay and Pepsi—alongside major sports leagues like the NHL—touted data as the lifeblood of their organizations that’s at the core of how they plan and activate. It’s not merely about gathering raw data but harnessing its power efficiently. Having precise, clean, actionable data enables brands to be more agile, responsive, and far more targeted than ever before. Harnessing data effectively provides insights into your audience’s preferences and unique behaviors. It helps you define KPIs to achieve business goals faster. Data inspires creativity—ideas that will delight your audience and deepen their emotional connection.

The most successful brands and rights holders can immediately see how effectively their content, ticketing & engagement platforms, data integrations, and sponsorships perform. With social running 24 hours a day, it’s no longer just about the event, the ad spot, or placement—the most successful campaigns or interactions are ready to engage at any time of day with a global audience. Any organization that doesn’t have a source of truth or an efficient route to understanding their data is well behind. To survive, it’s imperative for brands to have effective management and measurement tools to support all their engagement marketing activities.

Data Checklist to Thrive

Optimizing your marketing and operational plans requires efficiency.  Can you accurately answer “yes” to each of these questions regarding all aspects of your portfolio—from ticketing and fan engagement to data integrations to brand/athlete/influencer partnerships?

  • Do you have a true source of truth to rely on? 
  • Have you established strong benchmarks to measure your KPIs against?  
  • Do you have a clear 30,000 ft view of how your entire portfolio is performing? 
  • Can you quickly find the answers you’re looking for in your data? 
  • Can you identify a variety of trends easily?  
Key Takeaway

If you’re spending large amounts of money on sponsorship and partnerships, you’re only getting your money’s worth if you’re also investing in solutions that help you understand the data behind your investments. Data is the deciding factor behind how much brands invest and how they negotiate deals. No matter which side of the sponsorship deal you are on, staying on top of your metrics will help you secure stronger partnerships and reach your business goals faster.   

Learn how KORE Evaluate can help you make the best data-driven decisions.  

2. The Need for Continuous Innovation & the Unknown Impact of Future Technologies

Topics such as crypto, the metaverse, and the NCAA’s name, image, likeness (NIL) rule, dominated the conference. We can’t control the future, so adjusting on the fly or trying something new is critical to remaining relevant and growing. Take Absolut Vodka for example, who collaborated with Coachella to create a popup festival in the metaverse, Decentraland, as an alternative to attending Coachella in person. The Absolut bottle-shaped digital space was packed with exclusive free virtual cocktails, games, and prizes like festival wearables for your avatar. This large-scale brand partnership in a metaverse was a brilliant move and one of the first of its kind in a space that is only just starting to take shape.

Questions for Your Team
  • How will the need for continuous innovation impact your partnerships and sponsorship tactics moving forward? 
  • With the speed of technology evolving, how will your team iterate and create new ways to engage with your audience in person and virtually?  
  • How will you measure the success of these new activations? 

Learn how KORE Activate can help you measure your activations performance and adjust quickly, for both yourself and your partner

3. Humanizing Players and Influencers: The New Consumer Engagement Model

As online social interactions continue to evolve, fandom and engagement with brands and teams are changing too. Thanks to the internet and streaming services, it’s more likely for an American to be a Premier League fan, a Californian to be a Boston Celtics fan, or a transplanted Aussie to catch all their rugby team’s matches. Fandom is no longer restricted to where you grew up or where you currently live.  It goes hand-in-hand with the influencer boom where the audience can relate on a personal level: people are becoming bigger fans of individual players and their lives instead of focusing just on their team. Fans are following their favorite players regardless of which team they’re on.

Questions for Your Team
  • What are the stats behind your players and influencers’ stories?
  • How impactful is a single influencer on social media to your brand or team?
  • How can you track their influence?
Key Takeaway

Brands and rights holders need to adjust to the new reality of personal influence. This can include training players to use their social platforms better, adjusting to more individualized endorsement deals, and learning how to share the whole person instead of just “the athlete” with their fans. Engaging with an athlete’s family content, hobbies, and personal life humanizes the athlete in the eyes of fans and builds a connection that was unattainable in recent years. Today’s audiences expect relatable, personal content—how can we track and nurture that influence? 

Embrace the future of sponsorship and learn how Hookit can help you understand the impact and value of a player’s post. 

KORE is the global leader in engagement marketing solutions, serving more than 200 professional teams and 850+ sports and entertainment properties worldwide, providing practical tools and services to harness customer data, facilitate sponsorship sales and activation, and create actionable insights.