With Western Australia’s elite netball team the West Coast Fever in the midst of a gruelling pre-season, after a difficult season in 2017 the squad has been refreshed with new recruits as they build to the second season of Australia’s Super Netball in April.
The Fever’s on-court changes are reflected off the court with the club launching new branding to usher in its change of roster.
After a strong two year run the West Coast Fever switched it up and launched fresh branding with #HeartSoulSweat being replaced by #GotGrit.
— West Coast Fever (@WestCoastFever) February 20, 2018
The change reaffirms club identity, sets out their athletic attitude that filters through the club and into the way they communicate to their fans.
The club’s Media and Communications Manager Nathan Drudi spoke to Bullpen just as the club was publicly launching its rebrand, plus he gave some insights into communicating with the club’s fans and stakeholders in the sport in the west.
Bullpen: What’s changing for the club and governing body in 2018?
ND: “We’ve added a new person into a public relations role which has flipped our thinking a little bit in the sense that we’re going to try and further integrate our partners and sponsors into our content. Our numbers that we’ve got on social media are pretty good for our sport, so we feel that we can commercialise them pretty well. By showing that we can provide that support to our existing partners is something that we’re really focusing on and we feel we can do it well. At the same time we’re going to be a lot more heavily focused on video.”
BP: If you have brought on a PR person, you’re already planning some really cool co-branded content ideas?
ND: “Yeah absolutely! That’s the sort of stuff that we really want to get involved with.”
We've teamed up with our Major Partner Di Bella Coffee to bring you our 2018 Suncorp Super Netball draw!#HeartSoulSweat👉: http://westcoastfever.com.au/2018-Membership
Posted by West Coast Fever on Tuesday, 10 October 2017
BP: With such a multifaceted communications challenge, you’ve got your sponsor messaging, elite athletes, your community aspects and even fitting into the national leagues’ broader messaging, what makes netball in Western Australia a very unique communications challenge?
ND: “I think that the nature of our sport is incredibly fast paced. As a communications department we cover not just West Coast Fever but also Netball WA – our parent body – and our charitable arm Shooting Stars that is doing fantastic work in the indigenous community. It’s juggling those three organisations and ensuring that we don’t miss opportunities to be able to cross promote them.
“Of course game day is the pinnacle of any sporting league, ours included. It’s where we see our highest engagement, it’s unpredictable and we can really do some cool things as far as social is concerned.”
BP: We’ll talk about tone and voice, what is it for the Fever and Netball WA?
ND: “It really comes down to the platform and that’s something we have to tried to understand better in the last 12 months. With Netball WA, most of the stuff that we do across those platforms is relatively straight down the line and that’s just the nature of being a governing body.
“From West Coast Fever’s perspective, Facebook is still our platform where we are pretty straight up and down. We just give the information and links to our website. We still have a bit of fun, we try to come up with creative memes across the year but generally we’re pretty straight up and down.
“Twitter is the one that we focus a lot on for game day, being able to live tweet games and take people on a journey. At the end of the day I am heavily invested in the team because it’s my role, but I’m also a fan, what I type behind the laptop tries to capture what most of the fans are feeling.
“Then we have Instagram and Snapchat. They’re very similar for us as we try to have fun on those platforms and try to really connect with our younger demographic.”
BP: You brought up that you’re a fan. How important is it to be a fan of the club, or the sport, and bringing that fandom into the role?
ND: “I think it’s imperative to have passion for the team and the club that you’re working for.”
BP: Can you can you describe a successful social media campaign that you’ve helped undertaken for either the Fever or Netball WA?
ND: “In the Netball WA space, in June last year we had our association championships in which all our associations from around WA competed at the state netball centre. We had nine international teams last year, 280 plus teams overall, 13,000 people each day, a massive event. What we realised was that therein lies a fantastic opportunity for us as a sporting body to have a captured audience of 13,000 people and convert them to our social platforms.
“At that time we had about 7,000 likes on our Facebook page heading into that weekend. We ramped up our content and identified a whole bunch of different key areas within that event. With the total participants, coaches, volunteers and spectators attending there were all these different audiences that we wanted to try and target. Content was a massive part of that and we ended up producing over 30 pieces of content across three days. It really encouraged everyone that was at the championships to follow our social media channels. The result was we grew our footprint by 10 percent in three days which is massive for us and engagement that we saw on Facebook and Instagram particularly was outstanding.
“As for the Fever, we’ve had marketing and branding campaigns in the past but that never really extended into digital. We had a hashtag – #SeenInGreen – that a number of people used but was never really anything official it was more of a throwaway tag. We made a change, we consulted fans, athletes and coaches to see what the club stood for, what it wanted to be known for because we wanted to try and bridge that gap between the fans and for them to be a part of the club. We went through a number of workshops and consultations with a branding agency and came up with the campaign #HeartSoulSweat towards the back end of 2015.
“That has seen such fantastic engagement and the hashtag has been used thousands of times across the past couple of seasons. At the end of the 2016 season we considered whether to continue or change the campaign. One of the hardest things we decided to do, and it was tough because making the change is really easy, was to keep #HeartSoulSweat for another year.”
Grit (noun): Courage and resolve; strength of character.West Coast Fever is more than a netball team.It is a club of united, professional, innovative and courageous people, all working towards a common purpose of inspiring and making our members and fans proud.Welcome our 2018 Campaign, #GotGritJOIN US: http://westcoastfever.memberlink.net.au/memberhome
Posted by West Coast Fever on Tuesday, 20 February 2018
BP: I asked you a question over a month or ago about Snapchat. In that article you mentioned that using that platform was dictated by your demographics and how it has had a very positive and relevant impact on your content strategy. Firstly what is the club’s demographic?
ND: “The beauty of netball is it engages kids from the age of five to our oldest club member who is 95 years old. So as far as social is concerned the key demographic we hit is the 13 to 30 year old. The younger demographic tend towards Instagram and Snapchat and then we see Facebook and Twitter take over as they get a little older.”
BP: With the impact of implementing Snapchat as part of your content strategy did it allow you to be a bit more flexible? I see it better connects the club with a core demographic who are highly engaged, mobile and participatory.
ND: “If you look at engagement rates comparative to what our following is, Snapchat is the highest engaging platform that we have. We’ve got 2,500 to 3,000 followers at their moment and our engagement rate is about 94 to 95 percent.
“These numbers allow us to be a lot more flexible in what we wanted to do. You could have a bit of fun with it, give that real behind the scenes access. With Snapchat, you can post 10-20 things and people are more inclined to engage with it. It’s interesting the way Snapchat has evolved and become a bit more commercial and I still think that Snapchat is one of the great opportunities for sports clubs.”