Birds Eye View

It’s Just Not Cricket: What brands can learn about The Hundred’s OESP Strategy

By Ben Foster, Managing Partner – Digital 

It might seem odd for the Managing Partner of Digital at a marketing agency specialising in paid media to be writing about cricket but bear with me…

Our ethos is paid media last, we think owned, earned, shared then paid, in that order. Paid media should be used to amplify the successes from the other activity or to fill gaps, thus not only creating a truly integrated campaign strategy but also creating plans that gain excessive share of voice, that punch above their weight. Too often, this is more of an aspiration than routine best practice, as logistical and operational issues cause organisational siloes which are challenging to break down.

So, what’s all this got to do with cricket? At the weekend I took my family to watch the Hundred at the London Oval which is a relatively new cricket tournament played by franchises across the UK. The Hundred face challenges many organisations face – it has launched its product into an already crowded market vying for attention from established brands/competitions. It’s trying to differentiate its proposition to appeal to a new audience alienated by the aforementioned established brands. And finally, it is operating in a tough economic climate where even the more affluent families are having to decide between buying tickets or other entertainment.

The organisers of the Hundred understand that what owned, earned, shared and paid really boils down to is engagement, with no better example of customer or in this case fan engagement than the matchday experience itself. Traditional cricket is a slow-paced sport with natural lulls in the action, supports viewing experience very much at arm’s length. The Hundred have matchday presenters going round the game between overs interviewing children, starting chants and even beginning Mexican waves. After the women’s game the players walked round the stand signing autographs for kids and taking photos, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

And if you couldn’t make it to the ground? They made the home viewing experience fully immersive with interactive predictor games, polls and even running their own fantasy league, all of which make the experience more ‘lean in’ than ‘lean back viewing’. While most games are broadcast on Sky, there are now games on the BBC reaching a new audience and introducing them to cricket. In turn the headline sponsors for the Hundred have also adopted the same behaviour, none more so than KP Snacks who have their different crisp brands on each franchise’s shirts. Brought to life with TV idents, in ground sampling, on product promotions and supported by tactical paid TV spots, they have amplified their sponsorship investment to another level.

So, when integrating owned, earned, shared and paid seems an unrealistic theoretical strategy, think about the cricket and how they smashed it for six from a standing start.