Building a new sporting brand through AI

Sydney Sixter's general manager shares the emerging technology fuelled ways the team is building awareness

Australian consumers are known for their love of sport. But for any new team that wants to build an audience, establishing a brand among so much competing noise can be a difficult challenge.

For clubs in short-format cricket competition, the Big Bash League, that challenge is made harder by the relative shortness of the season, which kicks off with the women’s competition starting in mid-October and concludes with the men’s season final in early February.

According to Sydney Sixter's general manager, Jodie Hawkins, that doesn’t allow a lot of time to build a loyal following – something the club has been working to rectify using of technology.

So in 2018, Sydney Sixter's launched its own chatbot in conjunction with artificial intelligence specialists, Carrington Associates, using the Watson cognitive computing platform for IBM.

“We are in the public view for such a short period of time that we wanted to make sure we had a way to continue to engage and communicate with our fans,” Hawkins says. “That was where our technology strategy started from – how can we be a club that is interactive for 12 months of the year.”

In 2019, that strategy has been extended through connecting the Sydney Sixter's chatbot, named after the club mascot, Syd (a walking white and pink numeral six), to the Facebook Messenger platform. Hawkins says the goal is to reach fans through a medium where they are already present, rather than asking them to download a new app.

“For us it is about how we can share information, so people don’t have to go into an app to get that,” Hawkins says. “The Big Bash is all about fan-first, so we are all about creating and using innovation that allows our fans to get closer to the club.”

She says use of the Messenger-based chatbot is also in line with increasing expectations of fans.

“They want to know the news first and they want it conveniently, so we have to be much smarter about the way that we engage,” Hawkins says. “While this is all fun, it is kind of critical, otherwise we are going to lose people. Our core market is mums with kids aged 5 to 15, so technology is where we need to be engaging, but it means we constantly need to stay ahead of the curve as well, which is increasingly difficult.

“That is why we work with companies like Carrington Associates, which can make sure we are staying on trend and ahead of the curve and continue to evolve year on year.”

While the Messenger platform enables Sydney Sixter's to push information to fans, it also enables the club to more easily engage in conversations, as the AI platform can provide immediate responses to relatively complex questions. The chatbot will also push announcements relating to players and fixtures, such as contract extensions and injury updates.

Hawkins says she is mindful, however, not to bombard fans with more information than they want.

“We are going to learn a lot over the next couple of years,” she says. “As we start to see how people use it, we are going to see what they like and don’t like and what information they are seeking, and we can build from there.

“The second you abuse that is the second you lose everyone, and you lose the purpose of the technology in the first place.”

Use of the chatbot is the latest in a string of technology-based initiatives from the Sydney Sixter's, which has previously developed projects based on augmented and virtual reality.

“We are only eight years old, going into our ninth year, and we are trying to build affinity,” Hawkins says. “We need to do that with as many touchpoints as possible, and technology is one of the key channels with us as we move forward to keep in touch with our fans.”

Read more about how brands are using chatbots:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Time is of the essence, especially for customer service teams. With chatbots, you can interact and assist customers at a larger scale, al...

Jai

Triple-digit customer database growth, personalised engagement become reality for Stone & Wood

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in