When it comes to executing a digital strategy effectively, not only do the employees conceptualizing the strategy have to buy-in, but so do those above them in the decision-making roles.
Although it may seem like a simple concept, one quick note to different people from around the industry and buy-in when it comes to just the role of digital in general is not something that is guaranteed or universal.
Luckily for the Dallas Stars, support for the organization’s digital efforts comes from the top, allowing Bryan Renahan, the club’s digital and social manager, the opportunity to not only get creative, but push the limits.
“It comes from the top down. Having their support to allow me to be creative is very important,” said Renahan. “We realize where we’re at (non-traditional market) and who we are, and to push the product, you have to think outside of the box and have these unique ideas.”
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 12, 2017
One of these unique ideas was using nostalgia in the form of a Super Mario video to announce Tyler Seguin’s contract extension. To date, the video has over 7,000 retweets, 23,000 likes, and has been viewed over one million times on Twitter alone. While it seems like perfect timing, the stars (pun intended) happened to align perfectly for the content to go viral.
Earlier this summer, during the department’s offseason planning sessions, one of the video producers for the organization came up with the idea of doing a “Super Seguin Bros.” video.
So, in July, the Stars posted the first video as a standalone piece, with there being no intention to have a second or follow up piece to the original one.
“The plan was to come up with some creative content that’s off-kilter, non-hockey related, and speaks to a wider audience,” noted Renahan. “The first video was just a spoof of the iconic first level in Super Mario Bros. and it was just a fun piece of content that performed well. I kind of sat on that idea for a while not knowing if we would use it again.”
It just so happened that not only would they use the idea again, but when they did, it would fall on the 33rd anniversary of the iconic video game. “Some things you just can’t plan,” said Renahan.
Luckily, the team was prepared because of the foundation they set earlier in the summer.
“I had the realization that since the piece performed so well, we could do a follow-up piece where at the end of the video there would be a big reveal showing his contract extension. So for about two weeks, our in-house video producer would work frame by frame to switch out the pixels and build out the second video. He did a great job executing the idea and making the video. It was a true team effort.”
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 13, 2018
Instead of worrying what they might post or coming up with something on the fly, all Renahan and his team had to do was add in the term and salary numbers and call it a day.
Not being pressed for quality content once the news broke internally, Renahan was able to make a case as for why the club should lead with the video instead of a press release followed up by the video.
“I wanted to post the video with no text and no context. Just drop it into people’s feeds. I had to get the green light from everyone from the head of marketing to the head of communications, but I’m lucky enough to have such a great management team that says, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.’”
Listening, storytelling, and capitalizing on moments are pillars of the Stars’ digital strategy and all three were on display when it came to the Seguin post.
“One of the most effective ways to form a relationship with your audience is by giving them the content that they actually want,” said Renahan. “Most social media managers know this, but I am fortunate to work under management that allows me this sort of freedom where my creativity can thrive.”