The Importance of Brand Stories in Sports

Stories are Important in Sports - Rocky Balboa

Everyone loves a good sports story.

“Storytelling” is undoubtedly one of the top marketing buzzwords of 2017, and for good reason.

As the number of engagement platforms continues to skyrocket so too does the competition for a share of consumer attention. The current landscape demands that businesses in all industries excel at connecting with their target audiences in a meaningful, emotion-driven manner to drive business results. That applies to sports as much as any other business, where creating relationships with fans is critical to lasting on- and off-field success.

Stories are the key to establishing and reinforcing those relationships.

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Is The Capitals’ New Chatbot Smart Enough To Provide Real Value For Fans?


Last month the Washington Capitals announced the launch of a new chatbot for Facebook Messenger. Now that Facebook is allowing brands to build their own chatbots, chances are you have had a chance to interact with at least one. These bots are a unique way to create meaningful customer interactions on a widely used platform, so it makes sense that sports teams are jumping on the bandwagon.

When any new technology launches there are early adopters – eager to get their hands on the technology – who build something just to test the platform, and I applaud that approach. But for a new digital platform to stick and get traction with the fanbase it’s important to add substantial value to fans. It has to be useful and there must be a compelling reason for fans to engage with the bot or they simply won’t use it.

The Caps’ bot has been live for about a month now, so I decided to put it through a series of tests and questions to see just how useful the bot can be using Apple’s latest version of Siri as a benchmark. Here’s how it went…

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Native Is The Future – Sponsored Content Segments in Sports


Screencap courtesy of Digiday.

The World Series is getting a lot of attention right now and all eyes are tuned in to Fox. While NFL ratings are down CBS is reporting that the first two World Series games had an average audience of 18.3 million viewers, the most since 2009, which is promising for the MLB and broadcasters.

Those are impressive numbers. But with the rise of second-screen viewing on mobile devices, the use of DVRs, and even timing bathroom trips with commercial breaks, people are less engaged than ever during commercials. Brands are now demanding additional engagement opportunities and the networks have begun to recognize the need to keep viewers engaged during on-screen promotions. To do this they are turning to native ads and sponsored segments more frequently than ever, and the World Series features a prime example.

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Making A Move


I realize it has been a little while since I posted here, but it’s mostly because I have been trying to figure out how and when to write this article.

In mid-September I resigned from my position as Digital Strategy Manager at Breakaway, where I had worked for the previous year and nine months. The decision was by no means easy. I am incredibly thankful for my time there, and I learned more than I could have imagined when I accepted the role just under two years ago. The opportunity to be exposed to such a smart group of coworkers, partners, and clients is one that I am incredibly fortunate to have had so early in my career, and it undoubtedly contributed to my personal and professional growth.

So, why did I resign from my position at Breakaway? A few weeks ago I accepted an offer to join Fenway Sports Management as Manager, Digital Strategy and Partnership Development. This is a new role at the organization, and developing it is going to require a lot of work. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to build something from the ground up and make an impact across the company. Not to mention, working with FSM’s portfolio of blue chip brands and partners will be an incredible experience.

I am ecstatic to officially join the team on Monday morning, and I can’t wait to get started.

It’s safe to say things are going to get pretty quiet here on The Bern Blog for a little while, anyway. Once I have settled in I am sure I will have countless new topics to write (complain) about. Until then…

The Ad Blocking War Rages On

The Ad Blocking War Rages On

This week Facebook announced the launch of a new technology to prevent the use of ad blockers on their desktop website. This feature was implemented to protect the incredible revenue generated on their ad platform. Facebook execs lauded the tech and indicated that it would be extremely difficult to defeat without providing a significantly slower user experience on the site. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t last long.

Just about 48 hours after Facebook’s announcement AdBlock Plus, one of the leading ad blocking plugins, announced that their community had found a workaround to provide a speedy, ad-free experience on the social network. As a user of ad blocking tech in my personal browsing this is a welcome announcement, but there are two other takeaways here that are pretty important.

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Designed and authored by Mathew Bernstein.
© 2017