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Brand Engagement Digital | 16.06.14

Dan Cobley

Changing the way we communicate with our customers and fans

Dan Cobley, the UK and Ireland Managing Director of Google, highlighted the growth of mobile and online video as the future of sports sponsorship as he told an audience at the Leaders Sport Business Summit that sports and commercial partners will have to continue to adapt if they are to engage with fans.

In an entertaining and informative session that featured examples of innovative mobile and video campaigns, Cobley urged brands to recognise the importance of mobile and online video as a vehicle to communicate with consumers.

Cobley kicked off the session by revealing some startling statistics, citing research suggesting that the average person checks their phone 150 times per day and that there will be 75% smartphone penetration in the UK by the end of this year.

In relation to sport, Cobley underlined the importance of the new media platforms by looking back to the London 2012 Olympics, when one in three people used multiple screens while watching the Games and 85% used their smartphones in the Olympic Stadium.

“Usually as a marketer you have to try to find the people, but with sport it’s a different story as the fans are easy to find and they are already there,” Cobley said.

“However, it is about connecting with those fans and making the most of your assets. Great content doesn’t build your brand unless people engage with it.”

Cobley explained that there were three different ways to get people to engage with any individual brand.

Firstly, he said, it is important to “run media” to secure exposure, because “it’s worth spending a bit of money to get what you want in front of the right people”.

Secondly, brands need to “sponsor programmes… and they can do that in pretty interesting ways”. To illustrate his point, Cobley showed an example of how watch maker Rolex used bumper advertisements surrounding online coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Thirdly, Cobley insisted it is essential to “build channels… as you need to have a home for your content”.

He added: “The best brands now no longer just make adverts – they make content.”

Cobley went on to reveal that Google-owned YouTube now has a larger reach than any commercial channel in the UK, while 38 million people in the country watch an online video every month.

“People are discovering things on mobile devices now,” he said. “Video is the critical way to connect with people on mobile.”

Cobley then demonstrated the Google Glass device, which can provide a point-of- view angle amongst other innovations.

“It doesn’t make much of a leap of imagination to realise the possibilities for this in sport,” he said.

“Digital represents a unique opportunity to tell expansive, engaging stories where passionate fans can upload their own things and become part of the conversation.

“The biggest levers we have to pull people in are mobile and online video, but these are often neglected by rights-owners.

“We’re in a newly-connected world and there is a real opportunity for brands to engage with consumers.”

Leaders Week New York

20 - 23 May 2019


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