CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, BBC, Euronews. The media around the world report the Portland Timbers officially becoming a vegan football club. The players’ nourishment consists of plant-based products only, at Providence Park they’ve got for sale vegan fast food only, and Nike is manufacturing boots for football players from vegan materials.
Want to know how something like this could happen? Just keep on reading.
In marketing, there are such concepts as social marketing and cause-related marketing (CRM). They are essentially one and the same thing, if a certain brand is involved, for in one form or another, brand gets some benefit from participating in any socially oriented projects.
That is, there can be no 100% social marketing, if it is in any way, shape or form associated with some specific brand, for the profit for the brand, in this case, is at least increase in recognition.
At the same time, it’s a great danger for the brand when consumers are aware that the brand does have some kind of profit.
MLS actively engages this type of marketing. It surely deserves huge respect, because in contrast to many other brands, it’s really more of a social marketing for MLS. At least, it is the impression I’ve got.
MLS incorporated this type of marketing under the name of MLS WORKS.
MLS WORKS includes various interesting initiatives. For instance, MLS WORKS, adidas, Southern New Hampshire University and the U.S. Soccer Foundation have partnered to build 20 mini-pitches for kids. Here is the infographics MLS WORKS provides.
And it’s a perfect solution, since any kids targeting initiative is taken extremely positively. And MLS still keeps accomplishing its main task. MLS invests in these kids’ loyalty, in their subsequent turning into the league’s fans. At present, of course, the effectiveness of such investments is decreasing because of the development of eSports, nevertheless it is necessary to continue working with children.
However, we’ll focus here on something different. Research shows considerably high rates of the Americans’ interest in CRM. For instance, taking some studies as a base, we see that 86% of Americans would rather prefer brands based on CRM, when price and quality are equal, 74% of Americans draw their attention to whether the brand, being recommended to them, is involved in solving social problems, while 84% of Americans believe that it’s a duty of each company to engage in social projects.
But who is really impressed by CRM today? Unless you come up with some sort of an uncommon for cases like this theme, and set yourself a pretty serious goal, being at the same time controversial for the society.
What do I suggest? PETA has its own list of the most vegan-friendly American cities. Who do you think is in the first place? That’s right, it’s Portland (Los Angeles is in the second, the third is New York).
Therefore, the CRM’s theme for the Portland Timbers emerges by itself. Why not resolve an essential social issue by becoming known all over the world?
The number of vegans around the world is growing rapidly, and whatever slight an initiative in this direction is easily spread around the world within vegan society, spilling quickly over its bounds, through being controversial for most of society.
So we can see that it’s a perfect PR ploy that at the same time is to be positively received by the fans of the club from such an advanced city like Portland. It’s only a matter of making it look so good that there would be nothing left for the PR department of the Portland Timbers to do.
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Leon The Alien
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Images: Portland Timbers, MLS, Pexels