Converting Fans Into Brand Advocates
When the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning was acquired by new owner Jeff Vinik about four years ago, the brand was in trouble. Attendance was down. Fan loyalty was poor. Under Jeff Vinik, a new management team got to work to give the team a new brand.
The brand makeover spanned all elements including a new logo and expensive upgrades to the team’s venue to make the facilities more fan friendly. Other programs were implemented including a generous $50,000 donation to a local charity given away at each home game, funded personally by Jeff Vinik.
As if these changes weren’t impressive enough, the team embarked on a new digital strategy. With support from the top, the team’s digital strategy, under the leadership of James Royer, got more social. A new Social Media Wall was installed that displayed fan’s pictures during each game. Fans who used one of several hashtags promoted by the Lightning’s digital team, saw their pic flashed on the wall, and sometimes the oversize jumbo tron above the ice.
The team also experimented with a Social Captain program. At each home game, a local fan was selected to be the Social Captain. This person is someone who is active in social media and will gladly create and curate content with Lightning hashtags before, during and after the game.
The Social Captain program is a brilliant way to create fan advocacy that also creates buzz and loyalty for the brand.
Tune in for my interview with James Royer to learn more about this incredible brand turn around.
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