Professor Aaron Smith - Brand Fans: Lessons from the World’s Greatest Sporting Brands

LDN.0.01, Loughborough University London

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Professor Aaron Smith, a Professor within our Institute for Sport Business, will be delivering an open lecture on Wednesday 22nd May.

The world’s best sporting enterprises offer a unique lens for critically examining branding, value creation, and customer engagement. In fact, no other product in the world commands such lifelong loyalty despite unpredictable quality and variable success. Sport’s greatest enterprises set the benchmark for ‘passion’ branding because they ruthlessly pursue competitive advantage, relentlessly drive value, and insatiably prioritise consumer engagement. Combining the latest branding research with a diverse range of powerful case examples, this lecture will reveal the cutting-edge techniques of value co-creation, personalisation and customer engagement employed by sport’s leading brands. Based on the transferable lessons that emanate from these practices, the lecture will explore and illuminate how firms can cultivate connected fans and lifelong advocates, while building brand equity in the process. 

In exploring the nature of ‘brand fans’, the lecture will also propose that while the visualisation of sport content has witnessed a material enlargement, it has been accompanied by a cognitive enhancement to make sense of that visual content. The digital progress, in turn, has facilitated the shared, multi-platform vision of sport that has multiplied the monetisation opportunities for platforms delivering to fans. The lecture concludes that the sensory enlargement, cognitive enhancement, digital connectedness, and transformative engagement technologies that have historically allowed sport to be viewed, understood and enjoyed across the globe, are now also adding innovations to become more ‘shareable, discussible, bettable and playable’. The long-anticipated transformation of sport into a common language of mediatised entertainment is mutating into something new, and even more powerful.

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