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Reverse-engineering a brand strategy for the Vodacom Cup

Integrated Brand Services agency Brand inc together with SARU took an innovative approach in its brand strategy for this year’s Vodacom Cup which was met with hugely positive feedback from the unions and media that engaged with the campaign.

SARU and Brand inc developed an online toolkit for the unions taking part in the Vodacom Cup to use over the course of the tournament. This toolkit allowed the unions to design their own marketing collateral for each game, which significantly reduced the wastage of resources, time and money that had occurred with previous Vodacom Cup games that underwent last-minute changes.

The idea for the toolkit came from Brand inc’s Marketing Director Goodwill Moyo after he travelled to the four corners of South Africa to meet face-to-face with 13 of the 14 unions that take part in the Vodacom Cup at the end of 2013. His mission was simple, conduct in-depth Q&A sessions with all the unions to find out what their views on the marketing and advertising of the Vodacom Cup were.

Meanwhile, Tony Niemeyer, Brand inc’s Senior PR Account Manager, conducted a media audit with leading South African sports journalists to find out what their opinions regarding the public relations around the tournament were.

The findings from these sessions allowed Brand inc to reverse-engineer a 360° marketing, advertising and PR plan for the Vodacom Cup which addressed all the issues the unions and media had with the tournament.

One of the key challenges that was highlighted on the marketing side of the tournament was the fact that with the tournament touring the entire country, occasionally venues for games were changed at the last minute due to poor field conditions. Previously in those instances the tournament collateral (flyers, posters, streetpole ads, etc.) that was printed had to be discarded and new collateral designed, printed and couriered at the last minute.

The other challenge was that while bigger unions had their own marketing departments and additional budget to market the Vodacom Cup games, the smaller unions didn’t and were looking for a cost-effective way to address this issue.

‘After doing extensive research into global sports brands and tournaments, we found information about how the marketing of the FA Cup is run from a central toolkit that all the clubs are given access to for the duration of the tournament,’ said Moyo.

‘Our thinking was to build a similar toolkit for local unions to use for the Vodacom Cup. This proved extremely effective because we built the toolkit so that anyone accessing it could design their own marketing collateral such as flyers, posters and digital elements through an easy to use drop-down menu system with custom fields where they could enter information for ticket pricing, dates and fields can be entered,’ said Moyo.

The toolkit also ensured that the brand identity of the tournament remained consistent at all touchpoints and limited instances of unions designing their own tournament collateral that was completely different from the tournament look and feel.

On the PR side, after an overwhelming response from the media that they wanted more player profile-type pieces focussing on the up and coming stars of the Vodacom Cup, weekly calls were put through to the unions playing to get quotes directly from players and coaches around the tournament.

The content that resulted was placed far and wide, especially in local community newspapers and media, due to the targeted approach that Brand inc took.

‘Both the marketing and the PR around the Vodacom Cup tournament this year were successful and rolled out according to the plan we drafted and presented to client. Going forward we will be looking to add further functionality to the toolkit by allowing unions to book promoters through the toolkit and upload video content as the tournament rolls out,’ concluded Moyo.

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