Wednesday 29 October 2008

A great example of using a top sporter to promote a brand

This picture appeared on the front and back covers of The Edge (business magazine) promoting CIMB. If you did not already know, this lady is the number 1 in the world in squash, a Malaysian woman called Nicol David.

This is a great example of using a top sporter to promote a brand and its values and its determination to ride through the current economic crisis. Nicol went on to win the Malaysian open to top it off for CIMB.

The important thing for CIMB is to ensure that it lives up to the brand values it is promoting by associating itself this this ultimate champion, ie. determination, skill, strength, durability, self belief, dependability and the ability to keep smiling in tough times too. If CIMB does not live up to those values, it will be not only disappointing its customers, but also devaluing the Nicol David brand.

This issue of sponsorship being a long term partnership between sporter and sponsor in terms of brand building, is something I am trying to encourage on the sports community site I built Through the site, sponsors and sporters/teams alike can check each other out, network, build relationships and create a win win for both parties. If you are either a sporter or from an organisation which supports sporters in achieving their goals - you should register at the site (it is free to register).

Thursday 23 October 2008

Virtual sports teams look for sponsorship

Sponsors don't like to back 1 horse, they like to spread their risk which is why they prefer teams, clubs and sports events to sponsor. The problem with sponsoring a single sporter is that you are putting your eggs in one basket. But on the other hand a brand likes to be associated with a personality, not just an entity, as this is what helps consumers understand what the brand is about. Brand associations. So it is a catch 22 for sponsors and for sporters alike.
But what if sponsors could spread their risk over a virtual sports team, made up of individual sporters from different sports disciplines and different clubs, even different countries. But where the team of individuals has similar personality characteristics or stories which link them together and in turn link them with the brand.
This is one of the reasons I created to be able to offer sporters and sponsors a place to meet. Sporters can create virtual teams of like minded sporters from different disciplines and can promote themselves to potential sponsors. Sponsors can find virtual teams of sporters, who dispite not being part of a traditional team based on sport or country, are woven together through other ways, ie. beliefs, background, language, vision, personality, sexuality, physical trait. What the sponsor choses is based on the their brand values and what is best going to speak to their brand. This part is for each individual sponsor to decide, provides the platform to achieve the goals of the sporter and sponsor.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

What makes the site e-sporters remarkable currently

Following on from my last blog entry about taking from a prototype to a purple cow (remarkable site) I thought I would highlight the remarkable elements of the site currently, this is by no means to say that the site is remarkable yet, but there are elements which are and deserve to be highlighted:
  1. Targeted, yet inclusive - The site is specifically for a niche, ie. people serious about sport, sporters and their support network. It will appeal to a specific group in society and therefore is focused on their needs. This does not mean it is a small group the global sports community, as the site covers all sports (>300) and all sports roles (>100).
  2. Socially responsible - It was built with the aim of helping sporters achieve their sporting goals, 10% of profits goes to grass roots sports charities, 1000 euros per year is given to the most deserving team or sporter in terms of sponsorship money, it was built to protect people from online pests.
  3. Helping the little guys - The site is for sporters in the less well known sports, it is not focused on golf, football, tennis and formula 1 like other sports sites. The most deserving of the sites attention are the sporters in less public sports, where sponsorship is difficult to come by and creating a support network requires action.
  4. Advertising free - There will never be advertising on the site (no AdWords or banners), I hate banners. But that is not to say I don't have a business plan for making money to keep investing in the site, so there will be sponsors logo's on the site and targeted emails sent to members. But this means the site is clutter free and easy to read.
  5. People focused, not technology focused - Every single member that fills in their profile, gets a personalized email from myself asking for constructive feedback, all emails to "help" are responded to within 48 hours, the site is marketed by business partners who are (ex)top sporters, the site is a basic prototype with functionality you would find on, but the site does not proclaim to have the technological sophistication of a facebook.

I do endevour to create a remarkable site, but I need to take it a step at a time. Sign up for free at and start building your support network.

Prototype to purple cow

The purple cow is a book written by Seth Godin, which talks about transforming your business by being remarkable. The idea is that there is no point launching products and service nowadays unless they stand out like a purple cow and are remarkable.

It is an old book from 2001, but the contents have become more and more relevant since that year, due to lack of time and abundance of choice consumers have.

Seth urges everyone involved in creating designing or selling to think in new ways about their market. By adopting alternative approaches to your business, you and your company will survive to innovate another day. (on back cover of the book)

There are too many nuggets of the book to mention here, but I will point out one which hit home to me during the development of the sports community site, that it is not necessary to launch a full blown version, or even beta version in the first go. Rather test the water, and launch a very public release of a cheap prototype like car companies do at shows.

Which is effectively what is, a prototype being tested. We are testing the water with the target audience (sporters - people serious about sport) to see whether they can achieve their goals on the site, is there a market for the service we are offering, and to see what we should change in the full blown version of the site with all the whistles and bells.
Which we hope will be the purple cow!

Sunday 19 October 2008

A sporter - what it is and what it isn't - (naming of e-sporters, esporters)

After more than half a year of being live, I am still getting this question ... what is a sporter? Which is concerning of course, because if people don't even know what this is, the hurdle to get people to register on the site is even higher than usual for community sites which is already sky high.

I did not make the word "sporter" up, it is a Dutch and Portuguese word and I hope it will eventually also make its way into the English language, as a non gender specific word for a sportsman or sportswoman. Sporter encompasses someone who does sport, including athletes (people who do active sports) and also less active sports like darts, snooker, GO etc. In Dutch you can say "I am a sporter", when you do sports regularly and sport helps define you. Like on a CV you would put I am a "manager" or a "marketer". People should be proud to define themselves as sporters, like a stamp on your CV.

If you look up sporter in Google without selecting Netherlands or Brasilian, the word sporter is associated with cars, cameras, guns (worryingly), binoculars, bikes or motorbikes. Especially in the US a sporter seems to be a brand of gun, hmmmm, it may take a while before takes off there, as I certainly don't want my site associated with guns - might need a new name there.

The reason I chose the word sporter for my website was because it is international, it includes all sports, not just athletes and is gender neutral. As the URL or where already taken, I decided for as it is short and as I thought easily understood, but I guess I still have some educating to do!.

Friday 17 October 2008 YouTube channel launched

I have tagged this blog post as a "funny stuff" item, needless to say I am not made for television, okay that is not to say I am not attractive to look at, but I am just not used to presenting myself in this format. But hey as part of my marketing efforts to help people understand what (ESPORTERS Ltd) is all about I thought I would put it into words in video format.

Check out my first attempt!. It is also on YouTube on the channel where I will be posting other videos regarding, I will be trying to improve my video capabilities over the next few weeks - so keep tuning into watch these serious yet funny videos.

Can any one tell me how I can stop my eye lids from blinking like malfunctioning traffic lights - it is quite off putting!