Let's start with the basics. Ms. Weisenbach says that the core
consumers of the Wilson brand are avid youth athletes, and youth,
as we all know, consume an astounding amount of content each day.
"If we want to be relevant and top of mind with them," she says,
"we have to be in the mix of what they're consuming."
As a brand that touches nearly every popular American sport,
Wilson has no shortage of content. "We have a ton of great stories
to tell and interesting assets we can leverage -- from our pro
athletes and league affiliations to intriguing product development
stories from our Wilson Labs, the innovation hub at Wilson." It's
also a brand that enjoys membership in the "in" crowd, so to speak.
"We're luckily in a category that's important to our consumers'
identities and are among the kind of content they want to consume,"
says Ms. Weisenbach.
No "I" in team
That said, "cool" doesn't have to mean exclusive, at least when
it comes to content. While Ms. Weisenbach says that much of the
content mix comes from the Wilson voice and brand, she and her team
are developing more and more content that looks, feels and is
organic, soliciting a larger volume from athletes and fans. "We're
experimenting with everything from Wilson Advisory Staff Member
takeovers on Snapchat to documentary storytelling to blog-like
content to soliciting UGC," she says, emphasizing that
test-and-learn is a big part of the process.
To illustrate, Ms. Weisenbach offers the #MyWilson
campaign, a 360-degree and largely social-driven effort which
she says was meant to start a conversation among youth athletes
about the sports and equipment that they love. The core of the
campaign was a video featuring pro athletes like Serena Williams
and Dustrin Pedroia alongside amateur athletes, all recalling the
highs and lows of their journeys. "We also invited youth athletes
to add themselves to the video by sharing a clip tagged #MyWilson,"
says Ms. Weisenbach. "To incentivize participation, we pledged to
donate sports equipment for every clip shared up to $250,000."
The campaign kicked off when the U.S. Open, NFL season, AVP
Championship and MLB pennant were all converging -- a relevant
week, to say the least. Wilson got the ball rolling for #MyWilson
by engaging staff and influencers around the world, who posted
their own stories about their Wilson equipment and encouraged other
young athletes to do the same. TV, homepage takeovers and
additional digital video were also part of the mix.
"The campaign has performed really well to date," says Ms.
Weisenbach, citing high video completion rates and social content
engagement. Brand lift has also seen a boost, she says,
particularly in metrics of "for me" and "is a brand I talk about."
"It's been incredibly rewarding to see and hear the stories our
youth athletes have to tell," she says, "and how Wilson plays a
part in their journeys."
Aside from a surge in enthusiasm, a well-executed content
campaign often sees residual effects for its brand. For Wilson, one
benefit was further unification of the brand persona and
aesthetics. "Each of our sports has its own culture and a slightly
different tone of voice," says Ms. Weisenbach, the differentiation
being crucial to communicating authentically with each customer
segment. "So as you can imagine, it was challenging to get all of
our individual sport marketing teams to coordinate on approach,
content and timing" as well as design, she says. "In the end, it
was worth the extra time and effort because it helped us take a
huge step forward in presenting ourselves to consumers as one
brand." Nothing like a coordinated content marketing exercise to
get your brand moving in sync.