Transparency is a funny thing. To successfully engage customers, it’s an important subject for organizations in today’s marketplace. Yet, how does a company walk the line between reflecting an image of transparency, while still being able to function successfully without ‘giving it all away’? For the Baltimore Ravens, it’s an ability to appear transparent to the consumer, by appealing to the emotional side.
Football teams can have the unique advantage of extremely passionate customers. Sure, it helps if the team performs better and the players are easily ‘marketable’ to the audience, but football is a game for passionate people, with strong feelings to their respective teams.
For the Baltimore Ravens, social media is being used as a tool to provide an ‘Insider’s View’ to their consumers, projecting the ultimate image of transparency. Seemingly, even the most minute details are shared to engage the consumers and start a conversation. The Baltimore Ravens give their consumers the perception of what they want, the inside view to how the organization is run, how the coaches are preparing and even what the owners are looking for. The argument could be made that this is the ultimate transparency. The Baltimore Ravens are on twitter, instagram, and Facebook. They have vine, pinterest, youtube and snapchat accounts. The mascot is frequently featured in humorous fashion and charitable events attended or initiated by players have a high profile.
In return, the consumers ask questions, voice their loyalty, share their passion and clamour for opportunities to receive a ‘shout out’ or be highlighted by the official organizations social media. They get to see ‘inside the locker room’ and hear about the relationships among players. They have the sense of being part of the team, even though it will only exist from behind a screen, or a seat in the stadium stands.
A recent example of using the ‘Insider View’ angle was the change of the M&T Stadium going from grass to turf. The story was announced, the reason behind was explained, the progress of the field was shared and finally, the opportunity to buy a piece of Baltimore Raven’s history was given (Gilbert, 2016).
Yet despite the reputation of the NFL as a whole, the conversation among individual teams look entirely different. It’s questions about drafts, what the players are doing, what the brand/team is doing. Its manipulated, co-ordinated, superficial…and the fans love it. Some teams are better than others, often corresponding with their general popularity as a team.
Lessons for Others
The Baltimore Ravens do a great job of appearing transparent to their customer. Are they truly? In part they are. They share what the fans want to know, while the details of how the business is run remain private, the profit of the organization is enough to make any business owner jealous. The ‘transparency’ is orchestrated, but it’s believable and perhaps that’s all it really needs to be.
Name of Organization Contact: Heather Darney, Community Relations Director
Authored by: Michelle P
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
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