1. Understand the unique audience
Women’s sport offers a different audience to that of men’s sport.
Obviously audiences vary by code, team and league but generally women’s sport fans
are more gender-balanced with ‘family’ a key driver of engagement. Both fans and players are more socially conscious and not afraid to speak out on social issues.
Recently we’ve seen strong opposition from players, fans and the community around reports that Visit Saudi will become a sponsor of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The women’s sport community also hold a ’Collective Spirit’, offering a united front on many issues but also a genuine desire to see the game develop above everything else–often even over their own team winning.
They are 'Early Adopters’ of technology and digitally-led as they have had to be to access games or content of their favourite teams and players which haven’t been broadcast on main networks in the past.
Action: Develop an understanding of the unique values and behaviours of your women’s sport fans to ensure you are delivering fan-first experiences that resonate.
*WeAreFearless’ propriety Human Valuestool uncovers the deeper motivations and values that drive fan behaviours and can be leveraged to understand how best to deliver experiences specifically to women’s sport fans.
2. Acknowledge and approach it as a different product
Sportswomen are not little men and women’s sport is not a second-tier version of the game but rather its own unique product that requires its own approach.
Not only does women’s sport present different audiences, different traits and values but it is at a different stage to men’s sport. Many refer to women’s sport as being in start-up mode with different models, investment and strategies required to grow than that of the men’s game.
Brands that want to be authentic contributors in the space need to view themselves as ‘enablers’, adding value to and helping the ecosystem thrive rather than as ‘transactional sponsors’ who may only be there to extract value out of the game.
Action: Explore activation territories where you can naturally add value as a brand and be a ‘story-doer’, not justas a ‘story-teller’.
3. Be bolder, be braver
Women’s sport has 100 years of being under-funded and under-valued to catch up on so women’s sport and the brands associated with it cannot afford to be thinking anything less than boldly. Not only will thinking bigger and more creatively help fast-track the game but it will help brands get noticed and move the dial for all parties.
The good news is that women’s fans tend to be more forgiving, there is less red-tape or ‘tradition’ holding the game back and more willingness for right’s holders to experiment so brands can think and act bigger.
Action: Instil a culture of brave thinking and ask yourself if your idea or campaign can be pushed even further.
4. Don’t ignore the nuances
It’s OK to not be a long-term or die hard women’s sport fan but pull in people that have been or understand the inner workings of the community.
There are nuances to the women’s game that if you get wrong can make you look out of touch or disingenuous.
For example, the women’s sports community is much more diverse, progressive and vocal on social issues with inside jokes, respected Influencers and historic issues that if not fully understood can land brands in hot water or at least mean a lost opportunity.
Action: Pull in specialised expertise and understand what and why previous campaigns are
considered best in class. At a minimum sense -check with people or fans who are embedded in the community.
*WeAreFearless has a dedicated team of passionate women’s sport experts within their specialised women’s sport division.
5. Embrace the different brand values on offer
Women’s sport offers different values to the men’s game and with it provide desirable opportunities for brands to align.
Women’s sport is often viewed as more family friendly and cleaner which can often be associated with being ‘naff’ which is absolute nonsense. Few fans want to go to a game to have beer spilled on them or harassed so embrace and celebrate these traits.
Sportswomen are often touted as being more relatable and accessible so leverage this to connect further with fans be it through fun and snackable content or player interactions.
Action: Leverage the unique attributes and values of the women’s game with activations, experiences and content i.e. offer family- friendly activities or food and ditch the staunch key art poses that we often see in the men’s game.
The women’s sport opportunity is ripe for those brands that want to be genuine contributors to the game, understand the unique values, different fan behaviours, nuances and can execute in ways that not only get noticed but enhance the women’s sport experience across all stakeholders.
Rebecca Sowden is an ex New Zealand Football Fern and Director of Women’s Sport at WeAreFearless. Follow her on Linkedin here and get in touch email@example.com to better understand how your brand can unleash the power of women’s sport.
WeAreFearless is an integrated sports & entertainment agency that has a dedicated women’s sport division.
Alongside its specialised women’s sport experts, WeAreFearless uses its propriety psychology tool HumanValues to help uncover the unconscious values and motivations that drive people’s purchase and behaviour across core fan groups around women’s sport – often very different to those fans of men’s sports.