Building trust in your brand is hard enough. Now take a situation where your audience is so cynical about your product offering that some of them are even urging your competitors to advertising prohibited.
This was the case for the Premier League Football Club Southampton (Southampton FC) and the crypto betting company Sportsbet.io.
We spoke with FC Southampton Partnership Marketing Manager Charlie Read, Sportsbet.io CEO Joe McCallum and Partnership Manager Richard Barnwell to discuss how they have taken responsible disruptions to ensure a genuine message about safe gambling practices and increase trust brands in the process from 13% to 47%.
A skeptical and cynical audience
Gambling is playing an increasing role in football sponsorship. In the Premier League, where Southampton FC currently sits, he was the first sponsor of T-shirt betting 2003 – Fulham Football Club with Betfair.com. In the 2021/22 season, 45% of betting sponsor teams have. As part of the documentary Fr. gambling in football, Channel 4 estimates that bookmaker logos can appear more than 700 times per match. Undoubtedly, there is a large overlap of audiences between football fans and the target market for betting companies.
Much of the talk about gambling in sport focuses on problems with the industry, which are characterized by the stories of former professionals struggling with gambling addiction. Thus, the cryptocurrency company Sportsbet.io and Southampton FC faced an audience of football fans who were more critical than ever of partnerships between football clubs and betting companies. Both organizations felt that there was a clear opportunity for a successful partnership. In this case, success would include strengthening the voice for safe gambling and consequently increasing confidence in their brand.
Trust-based brand strategy
McCallum, director at Sportsbet.io, explains why Sportsbet.io wanted to build a partnership with Southampton FC with confidence at its core.
“We take responsible gambling extremely seriously. We create a lot of content and try to withdraw it from price advertising. Public perception is sometimes difficult for betting companies, so we looked at what our customers need from us. They need speed, stability and first-class customer support. “
“But one of the key pillars was trust. We saw Premier League partnerships as one of the key ways to support collaboration with our audience, but it had to be a club that teamed up with us. We talked to different EPL clubs, but Southampton FC came up with a presentation on our common values.
Both organizations have merged with one goal. But building trust it is easier said than done.
“It wasn’t a light switch,” McCallum explains. “It was a gradual slow burning. You definitely need to gain the trust and confidence of your audience.”
Acceptance of responsible distractions
With so many football betting sponsors, Read explains why Southampton FC fans had to hear their voice.
“We didn’t just want to record a general video and then end up entering a responsible message about gambling. We wanted to do something that was really fan-related. It had to make an impact. The fundamental overlap of the common values of Southampton FC and Sportsbet.io is responsible for the disruption. We had to create distracting content that we wouldn’t normally expect from a football club. “- Charlie Read, Head of Partnership Marketing, Southampton FC
Barnwell says this approach was another key reason why Sportsbet.io chose Southampton FC as its partner.
“We knew things could work well together, as Southampton sees itself as a ‘challenge’ brand that embraces disruption.”
In order to build trust in Sportsbet.io, Southampton FC had to create a campaign that went beyond the noise of other clubs and betting partners and provided many of its fans with a unique view on a sensitive topic.
‘Listen to the saint within you’
‘Listen to the Saint in You’ was a video campaign in which Southampton FC players spoke to a typical member of the target audience like an angel on a shoulder. Both organizations attribute the success of this campaign to three key areas:
Read emphasizes the importance of conveying a genuine message as crucial to the success of the campaign.
“The message was about a player who has placed more successful bets and is considering giving another. Unlike the other ads there was clearly no anti-gambling or completely gambling. It has been shown that you can enjoy betting on sports and on your team, but you must always do so responsibly. Placing the players as the voice of reason showed the fans that their heroes want to gamble safely. If you use players, you will always get better engagement and views, but these are not players. We had to make it genuine without having to force them to play too much!
Harnessing the power of what is already preparedinfluential‘Equality in the players themselves was a natural step. However, subordinating typical campaigns and showing the intervention that happens when someone wins – not loses – was a much more genuine approach, showing that Southampton FC and Sportsbet.io really care about the safety of their audience. For a skeptical audience, this authenticity was crucial. Barnwell adds:
“We wanted our audience to see their heroes connecting with our brand and giving that important message. If they see that their heroes are responsible, it resonates with them. “
Read also discusses their choice of delivery platform.
“The main channel we focused on was Facebook because our audience sits here and we’ve always seen the best engagement on this platform. Because the message was in a longer format, we knew that this platform would bring better results than Instagram or Twitter. However, we wanted to convey the message in a distracting way in the video itself. So we used CGI in the video. It seemed distracting, different and innovative. Because the partnership with Sportsbet.io, a technology company, was right. ”
The video campaign proved to be a hit with its audience:
- Delivered to an audience of individuals aged 25+
- 721,023 views
- 367,573 views
This campaign took place during Safe Gambling Week 2021. This allowed Southampton FC and Sportsbet.io to be part of a broader initiative to support gambling safety, bringing their message back to authenticity. However, it also posed a challenge:
“In a busy week when a lot of things are happening in this space, we thought something like that would do something like that,” Read explains. “So we took a different approach to the message and used disruptive technology like CGI.”
In order to overcome the noise and carry out a campaign that included responsible disruption and confidence building, all three areas had to work together.
Tracking trust as a KPI
For many brands that want to build trust in their brand, they would not be able to follow trust as a central KPI. Instead, many marketing leaders face a battle with Collection C and major stakeholders who respond much better to data points around the end result. However, for two brands obsessed with building a strong relationship with their audience, this is far from the case and has played a key role in their success.
The common values between the organizations meant that they were able to give priority to the KPI of trust, which ensures the authenticity and success of the campaign.
“For the“ Listen to the Saints Within You ”campaign, the key metric was a change of confidence in this brand. Of course, we also monitored the KPI for collaboration, but for a campaign focused on safe gambling, it was crucial that we monitor how the relationship of trust shifted to Sportsbet.io after watching the video campaign, ”says Read.
“At the beginning of this process, we looked at what the positive impact of this partnership could be. The priority of the partnership was to build trust with its audience and fans with responsible disruptions. “
Ever since the start of Southampton FC’s partnership with Sportsbet.io, it has been clear that both brands share common values. Read discusses why they were able to perform activations that were disruptive and different from what you would expect from a typical betting partner.
“The ultimate ambition is not necessarily to gain a client. Obviously in the long run we hope it does, but it’s really about the fans working with Sportsbet.io. We build trust, we build a connection and because of the type of activation we did with them, they have a really positive feeling towards the brand. “
Pending: Trust in the center
For Southampton FC and Sportsbet.io, the partnership is just beginning. As a cryptocurrency organization, another pillar in which Sportsbet.io has sought to help educate its audience is cryptocurrency. The original plan was to work on improving trust by raising awareness about safe gambling, as this was a more accessible topic. Given the improving position, Read discusses how they managed to turn their attention to improving confidence in cryptocurrencies.
“From an educational point of view, when we were thinking about cryptocurrencies and gambling and about trust, it was easier for us to build trust in gambling because people understood that concept. The crypto was more niche. Everything we have done with Sportsbet.io is designed to build trust. Whether it’s ‘Listening to the Saint in Yourself’ about safe gambling or educating and educating fans and supporters of cryptocurrencies, our goal is to curate fun, engaging content to build trust in Sportsbet.io and their brand. “
As with their gambling campaign, all future campaigns on cryptocurrencies or other topics will return to the foundations of the partnership. Their later strategy – including a well-played cryptocurrency education campaign involving a QR hunting, bitcoin game and social media hunting – both now and in the future, will focus on responsible disruptions. Building trust will put the game plan at the heart of the partnership.
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