Juventus FC just claimed their 4th consecutive Italian Serie A title this past weekend, and the 33rd in their history. The club is also still competing for the UEFA Champions League title and the Italian TIM Cup. All these accomplishments provide fertile ground for effective marketing communications.
Marketing Communications textbook author Chris Fill (2006, with Barbara Jamieson) discusses the DRIP model, which can be used to plan a communications strategy and can be an alternative to the AIDA model created by E. St. Elmo Lewis. Annmarie Hanlon defines the DRIP model as follows,
“The DRIP model is used to support marketing communication planning and is useful when setting broad communication goals. It can be applied when launching a new product or repositioning an existing business, for example. It stands for Differentiate, Reinforce, Inform and Persuade.” (smartinsights.com, 2013)
Fill & Jamieson (2006) explain the role of commination in exchange transactions by mentioning Bowersox and Morash (1989) who have demonstrated how marketing flows, including the information flow, can be represented as a network whose sole purpose is the satisfaction of customer needs and wants. Fill & Jamieson (2006) continue and state that at a basic level, communication can assume one of four main roles:
- It can inform and make potential customers aware of an organisation’s offering.
- Communication may attempt to persuade current and potential customers of the desirability of entering into an exchange relationship.
- Communication can also be used to reinforce experiences and provide reassurance by reminding people of a need they might have, or reminding them of the benefits of past transactions with a view to convincing them that they should enter into a similar exchange.
- Marketing communicants can act as a differentiator, particularly in markets where is little to separate competing products and brands.
The following paragraphs will depict possible applications of all four DRIP elements in regard to marketing communications actions of Juventus FC.
Tasks: Attribute. Whole product.
Explanation: To make a product or service stand out in the category.
Given its history, legendary players and accomplishments, Juventus FC differentiates its product by clearly defining its position in the market as one of the most prestigious clubs to follow in the Italian Serie A. In addition, the fact that the club owns their own stadium, which opened in 2011, can be used as a unique selling proposition (USP) in a football league like Serie A, where many stadiums are old and often subject to criticism in regard to safety.
Juventus uses many popular communication channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus, mobile apps, or email, to communicate their positioning as a legendary Serie A club. One example is their focus on legendary players that work as ambassadors of the Juventus brand. Former France international and Juventus striker David Trezeguet was named President of Juventus Legends in early 2015, and retired footballers like Pavel Nedved or Edgar Davids are often used by Juventus as ambassadors in different markets, in addition to their current squad members.
A further example is the unique atmosphere that the Juventus Stadium offers to its visitors. Owning their own stadium gives Juventus the opportunity to make sure that all operations are of the quality desired by the club. At an average attendance of 37,377 in the season 2014-15 (worldfootball.net), second highest behind AS Roma, in a stadium with a capacity of 41,000 seats, and a league with average attendance of 22,150, it is safe to claim that the club is doing a good job at attracting people to their stadium. Videos and photos are used to portray the attractive atmosphere in the stadium. The fact that Juventus have been a strong home side ever since they opened the gates of the Juventus Stadium, can be regarded as a strong influence in reaching an average capacity of 90+ percent. The club has won 77 of their first 100 games at home, drew 19 times, and only lost 4. Definitely great stats and an excellent USP.
Tasks: Remind. Reassure.
Explanation: To consolidate and strengthen previous messages and experiences
In a past article, Customer Decision-Making and Involvement Theory: The case of the Eintracht Frankfurt jersey and post-purchase communication, I have mentioned a study by Prof. Tobias Schäfers (EBS Business School) and Julia Schamari (gkk DialogGroup GmbH) with Kia Motors that shows that ‘active fans have an up to 30 per cent more positive perception of the brand, feel more integrated with the brand, place more trust in it and are more emotionally engaged with it. And the likelihood that active fans will buy a [product from that brand] is much higher (20 %) than it is for non-active fans. (ebs.edu, 2013)’ This means that is crucial to keep reminding followers of the superiority of your product or service in regard to different features, as well as reassuring them that a purchase of that product or service is worth the money.
The following video shows a typical night at the stadium and is used to remind visitors of a wonderful experience and reinforce their wish to come back as soon as possible. (Original video to be found on the Juventus Facebook fan page)
Juventus reminds its followers of the club’s legendary positioning on a constant basis through different digital channels with photos, videos, and copy. Before the game, historic data will be aggregated and pushed out to fans; alternatively with preparations of the team at their training ground. During the game, live-tweeting is always provided. This gives everyone the opportunity to follow the match live, wherever they are. And after the game, commentary by players, the coach, or others is provided to wrap up the highlight of the day. High-quality photos and videos underline the comments in the most professional manner.
In addition, the club fills its content plan with messages from the Juventus Stadium, the J-Museum, the Juventus Legends (ambassadors), or business-related news from the president.
Tasks: Make aware. Educate.
Explanation: To make known and advise of availably and features.
Juventus makes use of email to inform subscribers and customers of new products or discounts. The club takes advantage of various milestones to attract the attention of potential customers and offer them discounts on different products, from stadium tickets to jerseys to season tickets and more. The example to the right shows how Juventus celebrates the milestone of Claudio Marchisio’s 300th cap with the Old Lady and offers discounts on match jerseys.
Given the club’s popularity, it seems as if there is no extensive need to inform people on ‘who’ or ‘what’ the club is or does. However, Juventus takes advantage of every notable addition to the club, in regard to players, sponsors or collaborations, to produce press releases and/or media material (photo, video, copy) to inform followers.
In the video below, Juventus is used as vehicle to promote the 2015 Marvel movie release Avengers: Age of Ultran to followers of the bianconeri. Other brands, such as Samsung and Freccia Rossa trains, have used the same format with Juventus. A good and very recent example is the Juventus shirt sponsorship of the EXPO Milano 2015. EXPO Milano 2015 opened its gates on 1 May 2015 and used the front jersey spot of Juventus – originally belonging to Jeep – in two matches of April 2015 to promote the event to a large audience.
Annmarie Hanlon (smartinsights.com, 2013) explains that a brand needs to persuade its audiences to behave in particular way – encourage further positive purchase-related behaviour i.e. visit a website, read about a new product, share it or request a trial. Juventus does exactly that with their email marketing. The Marchisio 300 campaign mentioned above, is just one example of incentive-based communication. New merchandise and promotions of merchandise is often communicated through email as well.
Also, special matches are used to offer incentives, like the UEFA Champions League semi-finals clash with Real Madrid. Juventus offered the opportunity to win two of the prestigious tickets through their subdomain mychance.juventus.com, which is used as a sweepstakes platform game after game. A very simple but effective campaign.
Another remarkable campaign was the Juventus Social Selfie campaign. Tok.tv explained that “From January 14th to February 2nd Juventus gave the possibility to all its Juventus Live users to take a Social Selfie and submit it for the #JuveSelfie Contest. Once approved, the pictures were all published on a dedicated tab on Juventus Facebook page and on the Facebook page of the Contest and ranked based on the engagement generated. The prize? Being featured on the LEDs pitchside during one of the most important match of the season, Juventus – Milan, on February 7th.” The remarkable part of the story is that 15,000 selfies a week were taken. In terms of engagement metric, that can be considered a great success. Watch the following video for more stats.
As mentioned in the Juventus Selfie video above, the club has created the Juventus Together app to reinforce the community of bianconeri supporters. Henry Jenkins (2008:177) interviewed FanLib CEO Chris Williams, who explained the company’s business model by stating that “The value proposition for fans is a free [digital] venue where they can pursue their passion by creating, show-casing, reading, reviewing, sharing, archiving, discovering stories, and by participating in fun events in a community with similar interests… The value proposition for [companies] is to connect, engage, and entertain fans of their media properties in a new online storytelling environment.” This sounds exactly like what Juventus does with their app.
The DRIP model can surely be used as an alternative to the AIDA model. Nonetheless, the Juventus example above shows that it is purely a strategic model and further models that describe more in-depth applications of each element need to be created for an extensive marketing communications plan.
Oh… and big congrats to Juventus for winning the scudetto! Now, good luck in Europe and the cup.