It is safe to assume that football business managers will consider having an online marketing or communication strategy in place for their club’s brand, an athlete, or an individual campaign. However, not all of them might know how to implement such a strategy. Li & Bernoff (2008) created the POST method, which is the foundation of a systematic framework for assembling what contemporary marketing professionals call a social media plan. POST is an acronym and stands for people, objectives, strategy, and technology. We will now apply the POST method to the Juventus campaign #ThingsTevezCouldDribble and analyse the four components of the method as described in Li & Bernoff’s 2008 book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.
What are your [fans] ready for? – Li & Bernoff (2008:67) explain that it is important to assess how your [fans] will engage, based on what they’re already doing. Taking into consideration the 1.61 million strong following of the official Juventus Twitter channel (number retrieved on 1 February 2015) and the engagement of its followers, it can be observed that Juventus fans and followers are already engaging to a high degree with the brand on Twitter. Henry Jenkins (2006:137) states, “Fan communities have long defined their memberships through affinities rather than localities.” Observing Twitter interactions between Juventus and the club’s followers, it can be stated that the club’s following is spread all over the globe. Sanderson and Kassing (2014:120) comment on the integrative perspective of social media, arguing that, ‘mass media outlets have capitalized on the blogging phenomenon by opening access for fans to comment on sports stories; and that that invitation is not altruistic, as participation and commentary on these stories enable mass media organizations to benefit from free labor performed by audience members who drive the story, converse about the story’s salience, and contribute to the dissemination of the story.”
Taking the three above-mentioned points into consideration, it can be claimed that Juventus fans already intrinsically engage with the brand and other followers and participate in the creation of digital content.
What are your [brand’s] goals? – Shank (2001: 90) elaborates on Jain (1990) and claims, “Marketing goals guide the strategic marketing process and are based on organisational objectives. A goal is a short-term purpose that is measurable and challenging, yet attainable and time specific.” Newman et al. (2013:175-176) explain that when it comes to social media campaigns, organisations may have one or multiple objectives, such as increase brand awareness, monitor what people are saying to improve the effectiveness of future marketing campaigns, and increase sales.
Li & Bernoff discuss five objectives that companies can pursue to successfully implement their social media plans. These are, listening, talking, energising, supporting, and embracing. Brands should pick the objective that best matches the objectives of the brand [or in this case, of the campaign] as a whole (Li & Bernoff, 2008:68). In regard to the #ThingsTevezCouldDribble campaign, the objective was clearly to ‘encouraged followers to submit their images with the Argentinian striker dribbling anything and everything,’ as SBI Barcelona explained in their case study. This means, Juventus FC decided to focus on talking to and energising their fans and community.
Wollan et al. (2011:35) indicate that organisations that wade into the social media waters unprepared [with a campaign like #ThingsTevezCouldDribble] likely will find themselves overwhelmed by the complexity and speed they encounter. Sponder (2012:201) adds that it is crucial for managers to formulate clear social media goals and tactics for proper measurement of their organisation’s business goals. Li & Bernoff (2008:68) suggest to answer a few questions to figure out how to best measure actions and results once the strategy is underway:
- How do you want relationships with your [fans] to change?
- Do you want [fans] to help carry messages to others in your market?
- Do you want them to become more engaged with your company?
- The club wants fans to increase their engagement with the brand by creating content/images for the #ThingsTevesCouldDribble campaign.
- Yes, and it will be done through the creations of user-generated content, which will be spread through social media, including the hashtag #ThingsTevezCouldDribble, and will be energised by the Juventus brand.
- See answer #1.
Funk & Filo (Routledge Handbook of Sport Management, 2012:282) underline our answer #2 with their statement, “In most developed technological societies, individuals access information and develop beliefs and opinions about events beyond their direct experience from messages presented to them through mass communication.”
Li & Bernoff (2008:68) write that “[a]fter having decided on the people, objectives, and strategy, [a brand] can move on to pick the appropriate technologies”. In our case, we switch the term technologies with social media platforms or channels. Shank (2001: 56-57) explains that a channel of distribution is the chain of marketing organisations that interact to bring the product from producer to end user. This statement is obviously based on a pre-Internet world. In our case, the channel of distribution has to work bidirectionally, since the organisation wants to communicate with the fans – or, the end user, to use Shank’s terminology – and be able to receive their collages of Tevez dribbling.
Newman et al. (2013:177) point out that when evaluating the various platforms and technologies that are available, organisations need to consider the strengths of each platform and think about how they best align with the organisation’s objectives and strategy. Juventus focused their efforts on their most prominent social media channels, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and established the hashtag #ThingsTevezCouldDribble. This hashtag enabled Juventus to keep track of the progress of the campaign’s virality. In addition, the hashtag made it easier for collage creators to be part of the campaign and have their contributions found and enjoyed by the community that formed around the mentioned hashtag.
Juventus definitely came up with a great campaign around Tevez’s great goal. The hashtag #ThingsTevezCouldDribble comes with a clear wording, and Tevez, as the character that lends the face to the campaign, is a unique footballer with a remarkable own brand. Furthermore, using Twitter as the main social media channel was a smart move, since the channel is said to be sort of an Internet cocktail party, where interactions are basically guaranteed for engaging content (Vaynerchuck, 2013). Juventus were able to engage hundreds of fans to create collages for the campaign, hence, entertaining thousands of followers all over the Internet. In many instances a successful social media campaign from one of Italy’s most successful football brands in regard to social media activities.