Creating a Connection for the New Norm

Written by Sharon Choi, Planning and Strategy Manager, Atlanta

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What I learned from the past three days at SXSW is indescribable. I’ve never experienced anything like this. There’s so much to learn, so much to see and so much to share!

If I could choose one quote that stuck with me throughout this week is that, “Consumption isn’t going away, it’s getting bigger and more exciting.” In other words, consumption is being redefined.

Throughout the different sessions I attended at SXSW, the strength of a brand lied in the hands of consumers, especially with the new generation. This isn’t something new for us in an “audience-first” world. Specifically, for the NBA they’re seeing an evolution rapidly occurring that is reshaping the space of sports – offline and online. Traditional fans don’t exist anymore, they are more now than ever considered to be connected fans. The expectations that fans have are constantly evolving and brands, media agencies and distributors need to prepare to build a connection with fans in return for their attention and loyalty. Ryan Montoya, the Chief Technology Officer for the Sacramento Kings said that in order build this connection they must maximize the consumer experience. How are brands supposed to adapt to these consumer changes?

There were three main themes that were covered these past few days that will create this connection.

  • Do things that have never been done before; disrupt the norm
  • Curate moments that matter to grab the attention of consumers
  • Be unique and experiment with VR and AR

Ed Romaine, the Chief branding officer of Bleacher Report firmly stated that consumption is at an all-time high; however, in a multi-platform way. Brands need to be in the forefront and create disruptions that’ll grab the attention of fans. What thought leaders identified as the first pathway to creating this perfect blend is to create an immersive environment by building a tangible connection with fans through sports moment through VR and AR. Why do brands need to adopt this change?

Romaine in his session, “The Heartbeat of a Sports Fan” said that if we lose the creativity aspect, we lose all of storytelling that’ll capture not only a fans attention, but their loyalty. Immersion has proliferated the AR, Virtual and Audio spaces and is about to get a whole lot more advanced as the sporting space tack onto the technology. Through engaging VR and AR experiences the NBA hopes to grab the attention of fans throughout their gaming and half-time show, to make a lifetime connection via AR games, virtual interactions and more.

As these platforms AR, VR, MR and XR (there are so many!) are still unifying as one voice/tech, and better positioning themselves in the industry, there is a risk for brands to jump on the bandwagon, but to achieve this disruption brands need to work closely with both media agencies and distributors to create one seamless fan experience that enhances the connections with fans through curating sports moments through more than one way.