This past week’s Cynopsis sports media conference reminded us again how powerful storytelling; especially paired to compelling images can be. The ability to effectively communicate a message and build awareness through multiple forms of media; written, visual, spoken is what sets endorsers, brands, teams, leagues apart in the cluttered world of content. Those who are best at it invoke the passion of the end user and can inspire millions to engage, whether it is for a cause, an event, or a brand campaign.
The other key part of storytelling is authenticity. Many elite personalities and brands can build huge following but fall short on delivering results because their message is seen as contrived or non-authentic. Endorsing for the sake of endorsing may look nice and build a solid groups of likes on a platform, but if the endorsement flow does not seem natural, or becomes a wide-ranging disconnect from the person doing the outreach, the value is lost.
Three examples of authentic storytelling through video are worth noting. One of which has proven his brand value through effective use of video, the other two surfaced over the weekend as great endorsers to look at going forward.
The first is now Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. The University of Oregon, just minutes after he won the coveted trophy on Saturday, put forth an emotional video on the Hawaiian’s career, not just on the field but in the community, and how he has lived a life of inspiration. While many have read and watched Mariotta, the video invokes emotion and will inspire brands, and hopefully casual fans, to engage with the rising star no matter where he ends up in the NFL. While last year’s winner Johnny Manziel, has been about the flash and the dollar, Mariotta’s brand, as conveyed in the video, appears to be aspiring hire; hoping to inspire and lead as well as win, and that’s a great message for companies and casual fans who are looking for more than great selfies from athletes or celebrities.
The second video was the intro from Saturday’s Army-Navy game. While we have talked often about the undervalued resource that men and women who serve are for brands, the leaders who come out of the Academies are on another level. The video work but together shows commitment, inspiration, desire, passion and leadership that go well beyond a game, all qualities companies and fans should be looking for. Former Black Knight Mike Vitti’s story of walking the country for his fallen comrades is certainly the most emotional part of the tribute, but is certainly not the only part of the story. It is worth one’s time to take a look and embrace the power of the visual narrative.
Lastly is Jeremy Lin. Again our friends at MVP Index broke down the best in engagement by athletes in the social space, with YouTube being one of the key benchmarks. As you will see from the data below, the Los Angeles Lakers guard may be a few years removed from “Linansity,” but he is still an All-Star in the video world. Why? He picks his spots, tells stories away from the court and can use his personality to reach a global audience. He has quality over quantity, and takes the time to make sure every aspect of his engagement is real and effective for the audience he is trying to reach. While he may be away from the buzz every day, Jeremy Lin remains on the watch list of millions, and makes him worth a look for brands the world over.
From MVP Index…
Among active athletes, three YouTube channels stand out as the top contenders for the highest rated channel. Cristiano Ronaldo’s YouTube channel contains 44 total videos with over 40 million views. Blake Griffin posts videos at a ridiculous clip, boasting over 800 videos on his channel.
But the winner of this category is Jeremy Lin of the LA Lakers. While Lin may have only posted 18 videos to his YouTube channel, his channel boasts the most subscribers of any active athlete, outpacing Ronaldo by over 110 thousand subscribers and dwarfing Griffin by over 217 thousand. Lin’s average views/video is almost 2 million. That’s over 900 thousand more average views than Ronaldo and 1.957 million more per video than Blake Griffin.
The impressive thing about Lin’s YouTube channel is its personality. While the bulk of videos in the other channels mentioned are highlights and interviews, Lin’s channel showcases the his other side that fans wouldn’t otherwise get to see. Lin’s intelligence, heart and sense of humor shine through in every video he posts. Authenticity is key in building a strong social presence, and Jeremy Lin understands that in spades.
So as you go about your business and think of who the winners can be in sport and entertainment engagement; remember the athletes of the Academies, don’t forget about Jeremy Lin, and start making the list of Marcus Mariota; you will be seeing a lot of all of them hopefully in the near, and distant future.