Updated: Feb 15
This article was produced by simracingloft.com
You’re a league manager or owner and you're ready to take your league to the next level. This could mean a multitude of things, you could be looking for leagues to absorb, expanding your own league, or even turning your league into a brand name; if the latter is your aspiration keep reading. Transforming your league into a brand name can be exciting as it will allow you to expand your footprint into more than just organizing schedules and coordinating events, but it isn’t as simple as just throwing your logo on some merch and calling it good. Before you embark on your transition read through this article and think about if this is what you really want for your league.
The first thing you need to think about before moving forward is understanding why you want your league to become a brand name. This can be for a lot of reasons such as increasing your social following, attracting high-profile drivers and teams, increasing your viewership on twitch, or maybe you are looking to turn your league into a full-time business. The nice thing is that there isn’t really a wrong reason to want to expand your brand, and in most cases, it is actually in your league's best interest to prevent it from going stale.
Before we get moving too quickly let's clarify what a brand is. A brand is not a company or a product, a brand is an image and personality that you give your company or product. Your league has had a brand image from day 1 but you just haven’t realized it yet. Up until now you probably have a logo and you’re used to producing informational content for your drivers but it's time to take a look at what you’re missing. In order to transform your league into a brand name, you will need to find your voice, establish differentiators, and find out if your existing product (your current drivers) actually want to be a part of a brand name league.
Finding Your Voice
Your brand voice isn’t just funny tag lines and clever posts. Many companies that struggle with their voice post on their Twitter and Instagram pages on a daily basis but they do so without purpose and without continuity. Each time you post you need to have a purpose this can be but is not limited to any of the following:
Engagement posts (Engaging with your drivers and audience)
Delivering Information (Letting your audience know where they can find your content)
Promotion (Hyping up your league and or drivers)
As a sim racing league, your brand voice should very rarely be limited to just social commentary, after all no one is going to be attracted to a league that constantly posts about things they don’t care about.
The second but the most important aspect of finding your brand voice is finding continuity in your brand voice. Each avenue that you choose to publicly share needs to have the same tone of voice. If you are a Serious Sam on Twitter, then you need to be a Serious Sam on Instagram and Facebook. Why is this so important? Because you need to avoid confusing your audience as much as possible. Confusing your audience does not invoke a lot of faith in your brand and if your audience lacks faith in your brand then they have no incentive to invest time or money in your content or offerings.
Differentiating Your Brand
This is the part where we say that this is way easier said than done. In simple terms differentiating your brand means discovering out what makes your league special and how you convey that to your audience. Why should your target audience stop what they are doing and watch your league or support it as opposed to anyone else’s? Differentiation is a difficult task for any brand in any industry and even more so in the world of sim racing. Despite sim racings' young stature, there are already hundreds if not thousands of leagues (Grid-Finder.com can attest to that) out there that make the market quite competitive. Couple this with a small but growing audience, understand that you will be fighting for eyeballs and drivers at every turn so you need to make sure that what your league is offering is entertaining and unique.
Are Your Drivers Onboard
When already established companies (in this case leagues) decide that they are ready to embrace their brand image, the ones that struggle the most are the ones that alienate the people that got them to where they're already are. In this case, you need to gauge your current driver's interest in being a part of a league that is more than just a league. As weird as it may sound, some people really don’t want want to be associated with a brand. If your drivers chose your league because it was a great internal community that was in it for the fun of it you risk losing those drivers. Why should you care about a few driver opinions? Because you can’t build your league into a brand when your product (drivers) are falling like flies.
As you can tell by now this isn’t a guide on how to transform your league into a brand, rather it is a guide to what you need to think about before pulling the trigger. If you get through an honest discussion with yourself and find that this is something you and your league could truly benefit from then it's time to start doing your homework. Rather than thinking about what was written above it's time to start planning out how you're going to do it!
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