As Chicago celebrates its Blackhawks bringing home the Stanley Cup, it’s hard to think about much else today. Or, for the past few weeks, as it happens. Since the series with the Boston Bruins began, fans of both teams have been blowing up my newsfeed and the twitter-verse. Not to mention Instagram, YouTube, and countless media, sports sites, and fan communities.
It was after all a battle for the Cup between two original NHL teams with the loyal fan bases to prove it — the ultimate ‘community’. On our webinar yesterday, hosted by Lithium Technology, my colleague Kathy Baughman outlined some of the best practices that distinguish great online communities; I’m struck by how many apply here:
- Adopts a community without walls approach. No question that all the social and media bases were covered to create the ultimate fan experience. Fans of all ages ‘engaged’ on multiple networks, multiple screens.
- Effectively combines online and offline experiences. If you couldn’t score tickets, then why not hit the local sports bar to share the game day experience – as it played out on big screens — with a few hundred of your fellow fans.
- Is authentic and true to its mission. Clearly, this is an advocate community. But not all fans are created equal. There are the loyalists – who understand the game, follow you through thick and thin and defend you, as needed. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are just there for the party. Know the former, but don’t dismiss the latter – with nurturing, some will transition to the real deal.
- Keeps the conversation going. Legions of fans can monitor Lord Stanley and his Hawks entourage with #cuptracker – as ‘sightings’ throughout the city were forecast, then documented with check-ins, twitpics and video clips. More to come through Friday’s parade, I’m sure.
- Is evocative and plays to fans’ passion. For me, the finals turned out to be a face-off between my actual hometown (Boston) and my adopted hometown of the last 25+ years. I’ve learned to love the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and Cubs – just NOT when they’re facing the Pats, Bruins, Celts and Red Sox.
The emotion imprints early. I remember trips to the old Boston Garden with my dad. And my mom yelling at us to “turn off the tv!” when we’d try to watch the B’s play the Canucks on the road (an 11 pm start on a school night was a no-go). An iconic poster of Bobby Orr seconds after scoring the winning goal for the Stanley Cup hung on just about every kid’s wall back then – and made many of them fans for life.
I’m betting, years from now, this image of Andrew Shaw – face bloody, eye swollen and Cup held high – will define the moment for Chicago kids, no matter where they land.
Congrats, Hawks. Great series. We’ll see you next year!
Bruins fans everywhere
Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.
Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.
Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.