There is a practice inside of marketing that talks about making your customers the heroes of your content marketing stories. That way, they feel emotion and loyalty toward you. It played out recently when the Cleveland Cavaliers marketed to their fan base as they played for a NBA Title.
Co-hosts Bob Turner and Jason Goff talk about the ingenious marketing behind the Cavs championship on this episode of Online Marketing Guys. The team not only won a title, but through their marketing that made fans the heroes, won the loyalty of their followers for a generation to come.
You can listen to this episode by clicking Play below.
The Sad History
Prior to the Cavaliers winning in June, the city of Cleveland had not won a professional sports championship in 52 years. The last time was when the Browns beat the Baltimore Colts for a NFL Title. This was two years before the first Super Bowl.
Over the decades, the Indians, Cavaliers and Browns have all come close but ended up losing in last minute, heart breaking losses. Fans of these teams began to wonder if the city was cursed.
Prior to this year, no professional team in Cleveland had ever acknowledged this sad past. It wasn’t addressed because what had happened in the past wasn’t the responsibility of the current coaches, management or ownership to correct it. To acknowledge it would men a team was accepting responsibility for ending this championship drought and no franchise wanted to publicly do that.
Until this season with the Cavaliers.
Heroes in Content Marketing
The Cavs talked about this past with their fans. They used content marketing to acknowledged the pain and then, using classical marketing techniques, offered their solution. They would win a championship. But they needed the fans to do it.
Throughout their content marketing leading up to the final win, they chose to make the beleaguered fans the heroes. That marketing said to fans, “You’ve suffered long and had your hearts broken numerous times. You’re tough and you deserve a championship.”
Their “All In” campaign was a promise to the fans that they would give it their all to win. At the same time, this campaign asked fans to commit themselves to the team effort.
In this way, the line between the team and the fans blurred. Our pain was their’s, and their’s was our’s.
The Cavs also borrowed from a 2014 LeBron James letter to SI.com. In it he explained why he was returning to Cleveland and how much he wanted to bring a championship to the area. He closed the letter with this line, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” It spoke to the hard times the city had suffered as a rust-belt region and the 52-year suffering of fans.
The Cavs embraced Cleveland’s sports past. No other team had ever done this before. They also took responsibility for ending it, again, something new in professional sports. By doing this, they earned the loyalty of Cleveland fans for a generation. The eventual championship was icing on the cake.
Online Marketing Guys is a production of Social Flair Marketing and JasonGoff.com. Listen to this episode below.
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Bob Turner is a Small Business Online Marketing Consultant with Social Flair in Cincinnati, Ohio.