The Indian marketers post-COVID playbook to engage consumers through sports

Engagement through sports has been something brands have been enthusiastically investing in, and this link would explain why. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought all sporting activity to a near-complete halt, and it is going to be a while before it picks up again. And when it does pick up again, brands would naturally want to engage with consumers through it again. However, there will be a few changes that they have to be mindful about. This article seeks to briefly explain how consumer engagement through sports could be done successfully in the post-COVID era.

Changes in Consumer Psyche due to COVID

A Round Table Conference initiated by Sportz Village Xp in collaboration with INTIN (Singapore) as well as the survey conducted by Sportz Village Xp have revealed the following changes in consumer mindset regarding sports:

i. Need for Safety
People have shown a greater inclination towards participating in sports if the sporting venue takes care of all the necessary safety precautions as shown by the following:

Responses for ‘Would you play in a sporting arena if it follows the mentioned practices?’

Responses for ‘Would you let your kids play in a sporting arena if it follows the mentioned practices?’

ii. However, if safety is assured, a majority of people indicated a willingness to engage in sports as seen below:

iii. Along with this, one of the major changes that have happened is, for possibly the first time, families are getting to spend so much time with each other. As such, to keep themselves engaged, they have been resorting to activities that all members can collectively participate in.

How Indian Marketers can adapt their sports-driven marketing strategies

The above changes would necessitate brands need to re-orient their tactics, and here are some broad pointers for the same:
i. It is important that brands demonstrate that the sports-based marketing events that they plan to execute are in adherence to all the necessary safety guidelines. They could also try to go ahead and create such events that could have safety itself as a theme.

ii. The responses captured in the following two tables demonstrate the obvious preference towards ‘Sports Events on Small Scale’ and ‘Home Sports Events’.

Responses to : How comfortable are you in participating in the below mentioned Type Sports Events?

Responses to: How comfortable are you in letting your kid participate in the below mentioned Type Sports Events?

Thus, marketers would need to ideate such sporting activities that can be conducted among small groups of people who know each other well and would be comfortable with being together.

iii. In addition to (i), brands can also try to create online events in which families can participate in. Thus, a blended approach towards sports-based marketing could enable brands to appeal to a wider range of target audiences.

iv. Marketers may create long-term sports-based engagement programs that are devised in a modular format. This would allow different people to participate in different activities depending on their individual interests.

v. While gamification of various activities attracts a lot of interest initially, to sustain the interest, marketers may look at extending the gamification concept further by devising meaningful rewards-structures.

The above-mentioned points can help marketers in evolving their marketing strategies to adapt to the situation that we find ourselves in due to COVID-19. At Sportz Village Xp, we have already begun to develop the necessary capabilities to enable our clients to execute experiential sports marketing events in adherence to the points mentioned above. We are confident that with our prior experience in this domain, we would be able to help brands to derive significant benefit out of investing in experiential sports marketing in the post-COVID era.