Day #129: Pandemic Translations

The pandemic is omnipresent. If it wouldn't be about our health, for sure we would call it a communication hype. But why is the message so strong? I've tried to translate two key elements into sports marketing language.

Day #129: Pandemic Translations

Make your message visible.

Right from the beginning of the crisis back in 2019 the experts had a problem to solve. A virus is invisible. That means it has been hard to show it. The solution: the face masks that we wear every day. In communication we would call the masks a masterpiece. They give the virus its needed visibility.

You can post articles on your website and social media channels, you can send newsletters to your customers, you can get the best media coverage possible, and so on. But who really cares? There is a high risk that your marketing message will remain invisible.

Sports is all about fans, or more general: sports is all about people. Involve real people to show your message in public.

Make your message simple.

I don't like the saying "keep your message simple", because simplicity is not something that you can "keep". Any marketing idea is complex and you have to "make" it simple.

Back to the pandemic communication that let us dive into the jungle of restrictions around the world. Just to pick a case. Some countries have sent the message: "You are not allowed to leave your city." Easy, right? If I want to leave town, I need a permit. This rule worked. So far everything is perfect, but after a while they added things like "(...) If your city has less than 5000 inhabitants, you are allowed to move within a radius of 50 kilometers." Wtf is that!? A rule that completely takes the power away from the first. Why is that? The simplicity is gone.

In the first case, the message is easy to understand and you can also see the result. When you walk through the streets, you only see your neighbors. That makes sure you do the same and don't leave town. In the second case, you see people from other cities and start to do math. Boom! That is too much, with the result that the message is lacking in strength.

Every great message in sports marketing have to be constraints-free. I'll give you an example. Signing up for a newsletter like this one is pretty easy. You enter your email address, wait for the confirmation email the moment you're interested, and the job is done. Now choose a random sports organization, go to their website or app and buy a ticket. Usually it says: "Enter username and password." Really? It sounds hard, but a password is just too much to ask.

We lose too many people just because our messages are not as simple as they need to be.

What I'm taking out of pandemic communication is that:

media coverage alone (even if it's huge) isn't everything. You need to make your message visible and simple.

Visibility and simplicity let us go #BeyondVictories.

Christian Dreier
cd mediateam Est.

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