Credit to former athletes speaking out on this topic. As I tuned in to watch my friends attempting to make GB selection it was a shame to see the small crowds. It made me realise that our club, Reading AC, hadn't been pushed to promote this event.
In the world of marketing (credit to Google) we call the British Athletics Championships a piece of 'Hero Content'. A large ticket event, raises awareness and large brand exposure. It is why the sponsors get involved.
But as any savvy marketer will know, Hero Content is a missed opportunity unless you execute the 'Hub Content'. This is the ongoing conversation between your Hero content. It is regular, timely, relevant but most importantly - authentic. It can't solely be a company brand promoting their event, as humans we are drawn to emotion and connection with others we can relate or aspire too. It requires insights from the experts you do your business with, or in this instance the athletes you watch.
Greg Rutherford echoed this - 'What about the athletes?'
If I was sitting in British Athletics today I would be looking at athletes who do this well and sourcing advice.
My starting point would be the rejuvenated Colin McCourt. If you haven't heard Colin's story you can read here. If you look at his very well planned content strategy it includes the key elements:
Hero - build up to 5k race (with a fear of loss), competitions with sporting brands (increases amplification too) and individual events that we relate too.
Hub - daily instagram, Twitter and Facebook updates. Online momentum through his followers and journalists.
Hygiene - I am sure a website is brewing for Colin but in the meantime he uses Instagram as his 'go-to' knowledge hub.
Content themes - Colin has progressed through; starting to run again, kit he uses, transitioning onto the track and most recently nutrition.
Importantly Colin is leveraging his high-value network to promote his content. It provides social proof, liking that he is worth spending your time with. By featuring brands it also creates reciprocation and as a consequence he is driving more attention to his content.
Other athletes have picked up on this such as Tom Farrell and the authenticity creates curiosity for the viewer. Even Mo Farah is creating vlogs on YouTube now. Imagine this on scale....
If you ask a major brand what they want from the relationship with British Athletics, I am sure you will find 1-2-1 connections and insights are as valuable as their logo on the track. Grant Thornton UK leveraged this with Jack Green around Mental Health. A large firm need to showcase content internally as much as externally.
Executing this model is not easy and certainly takes time however the athletes will be up for brand and personal profile development, sponsors will want the content to distribute. There is a mutually beneficial structure to be built however it starts with engagement and education from the individuals.
"Saturday was very, very difficult. I've not had to perform or commentate in the conditions we had on Saturday. "The people running the sport in Britain are killing the sport. You're not thinking about the volunteers, the people that give their time to the sport, the fans, or the athletes. "The people running the sport now don't treat the athletes right where the athletes want to give everything back to the sport." to jog round the 800m that would have pulled in more people. "The tickets are too expensive. Just get the kids in, give tickets away free. Just fill it. That could inspire kids from Birmingham schools.