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What to Take Away from the NFL's Latest Marketing Strategy

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    Have you been watching the NFL's online video contest?

    It's called "Together We Make Football," and the promotion has been hard to miss on NBC's Sunday Night Football... or any other NFL broadcast for that matter.

    The NFL asked for fans to submit their stories about why they love football. Out of the thousands of submissions, they selected a series of finalists and sent crews to produce stories about each of them. From there, other football fans could vote online for which stories they liked best with the winner getting tickets to this year's Super Bowl.

    Pretty cool. The videos are all well-produced, but it's the stories and people themselves who really shine. The stories are fun, touching and heartfelt.

    From a marketing perspective, what's even better is how the NFL figured out a great way to assemble people to do testimonials for them. Yes, these are basically testimonials for the NFL's product... football.

    Many business leaders don't know how to ask clients to do testimonials for them. It can be kind of awkward asking someone to brag about you. On top of that, it's tough asking them to give-up their valuable time to shoot a video.

    The NFL figured out a great way around that... create a promotion to get clients to participate in the testimonials.

    It's an idea that other businesses could try. Many companies have their own following on social media. A potential post could go like this...

    "Are you a fan of Company X? We're looking for happy customers to tell us how our products/services are helping them. Let us know if you're interested and tell us your story. You could end up in one of our videos!"

    A business could also create a contest around it. If the company gets multiple people interested in being in a testimonial, shoot a few, share them on social media and allow people to vote for their favorite story. Then give the winner some sort of a prize.

    It could be a fun way to get the company's followers involved, but there could be one stumbling block.

    A contest could be perceived as a way for the business to "pay" people for good testimonials. Obviously, that's not fostering a positive reputation. Having said that, I think given the right company culture, and making sure the tone of the contest is fun, it could still work.

    Regardless, creating an aura of "fun" around clients participating in testimonials is a great idea.

    The NFL continues to build one of the most successful brands in America. Business leaders should pay attention to how they're doing it.

    Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.