It may be difficult to see any direct parallels between the English Soccer Giant Aston Villa and the Mega Media Conglomerate Red Bull, nonetheless, Aston Villa is working towards blurring those lines.
Acutely aware of their social inadequacies, Aston Villa, a storied soccer club currently playing in England’s second division, is aiming towards a complete shift and rebranding of their content strategy. For the past year, Aston Villa has been laying the foundation for establishing themselves as legitimate publishers in the world of Soccer as well as entertainment. In order to understand what Aston Villa is wanting to emulate, it’s important to understand what Red Bull’s Media House is.
In 1987, Red Bull launched itself as an energy drink provider, however, in 2018 they’ve evolved into a Multi-platform media company. Specifically, Red Bull’s Media house “offers a wide range of premium media products across TV, mobile, digital, audio, and print” (RedBull.com)”. Think about the video with the person skiing down the literal mountain with a Red Bull parachute on their back, yeah, that’s what they’ve been up to. Their presence as a premier energy drink supplier remains steady, but their goal was to do more with their brand. They wanted to connect consumers to athletes and entertainers and really give wings to those stories. In essence, Red Bull has taken what they were doing well and used it to leverage an extension of their brand. This is exactly the strategy Aston Villa is working towards mimicking.
Being able to duplicate the successes of Red Bull sounds easy enough, right? Aston Villa wasn’t so sure either. In order to give the soccer club the best opportunities, they headhunted and recruited key members and producers of Red Bull’s Media House team. As a result, Aston Villa has honed in on two key objectives, upping their content game and establishing themselves as reputable publishers. They’ve determined what their actions steps ought to be –
“pick up more of what’s going on in culture and media”, and, “become more of an entertainment brand”- Will Radford, head of media and content.
Aston Villa began by investing heavily in Facebook, but due to algorithmic changes, they’ve pivoted their approach to capitalize on Instagram and YouTube.
Generally, Aston Villa is developing their content in-house, but they do work with some third-party companies. One of the main takeaways that Aston Villa is looking to hallmark is the idea that social platforms ought not to be the core of their content strategy. While they’ve kept up their club’s social channels, they’ve noted things have become stale. Instead, they’ve determined that their clubs previously antiquated website should serve as the headquarters of their work. Another interesting strategy that the club has taken has been to prioritize data. Previously their club’s TV network, Aston Villa TV, was a pay-for-subscription network. But, they’ve shifted to a free approach which is made possible by the recouping of value through consumer data. Since switching approaches, they’ve had access to 50,000 new members.
Aston Villa is challenging conventional social soccer norms by endeavoring to spearhead a full-fledged media turnaround. While it is still early in the process, they are figuring out what equates to the most value for their consumers and are attempting to specify which social channels bring the most value. If in 20 years we’re all drinking Aston Villa energy drinks, we’ll know they have made it.