Consider that English Premier League clubs have almost 60 million Facebook ‘Likes’ when England’s total population is just over 50 million. Now that’s a lot of football fans. My Lovemark, reigning champions Manchester City, have more than 2.9 million ‘Likes’ on their official Facebook page. The team has been ranked the second most digitally connected sports brand in the world by Activ8Social and the sixteenth most social brand in the UK.

My youngest son Dan has spent the last year or so at the Etihad working on connecting City to today’s youth in Manchester and around the world. He’s worked with a bunch committed go-getters who are trying new ideas everyday.

Today, most brands are trying to find their feet in the digital space, but I reckon that Man City have scored a winning formula. They get that winning in the Age of Now doesn’t come through the command and control model of ‘strategize, process and persuade’. Instead of pumping markets with stats and data, to connect with audiences they get that brands need to create movements that inspire people to join them.

There is no new, there is only NOW. And at Man City NOW involves spotting avatars of players like Mario Balotelli at Etihad stadium, and learning where the best place to watch an away game on Foursquare. It’s picking up virtual badges and discounts when you’re on location, watching games on YouTube and using augmented reality for a hyper-real experience when you just can’t be there in person. It’s getting into the stadium and seeing your tweets on screen.

Man City is more than a sports team. It’s a global entertainment brand. Its supporters are more than ticketholders and fans; they wear their passion and loyalty on their sleeve…and on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. At a time where people are driven by primary impulses to go to the brightest flash, Man City has capitalized on the universal call of “make my moment”. The result? Loving them is priceless.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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