After finishing a disappointing 14th in the 2013 Super Rugby season, Highlanders’ fans thought they were in for an uplift when the club put digital PR resources into announcing a high profile signing on Thursday.
The PR Announcement
SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT https://t.co/tq1k7RDhnB
— The Highlanders (@HighlandersTeam) October 23, 2013
But when the Otago based club unveiled their new signing – assistant coach Tony Brown – the Highlanders fans were less than impressed.
The Fan Engagement
@HighlandersTeam way to build up everyone’s hopes only to name an assistant coach. Probably shouldn’t have hyped that one up guys
— Chris Scott (@c_scotty) October 23, 2013
@HighlandersTeam Ridiculous. Shoddy PR. No way to treat your fans. Get a grip.
— Harry Johnston (@hjohnners) October 23, 2013
Brown joins two other former All Blacks – Jon Preston and Scott McLeod – as assistants to head coach Jamie Joseph. There is no doubt that Brown will make an exceptional addition to the coaching staff, having coached Otago’s NPC for the past two seasons, but the delivery has left fans feeling misled and disheartened.
Headlines are arguably the most memorable and the most noticeable part of a story, any good journalist will make sure they are as attention-grabbing as possible. Whether in print or online, conversion is important, which is why you can’t blame newspapers for making their headlines as interesting or as shocking as possible. But for a digital strategy to work the focus needs to be on more than conversion rates and website traffic. Brands need to gain trust, develop a loyal online community, and hire community managers to listen and engage with these fans on social channels.
Why? Because the more fans you have sharing your content, and engaging with your social channels, the more exposure your brand will receive – It’s “word of mouth” advertising at its best.