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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Rippleffect - Everton FC Stand Together

13th August 2013

Company: Rippleffect Campaign: Everton Football Club – 'Stand Together' Category: Social Media Campaign of the Year - North - WINNER Objective Everton is one of the most famous names in English football, with a rich heritage of success stretching back to its foundation in 1878. The club has an exceptionally strong relationship with its supporters and is known far and wide as ‘The People’s Club’. Having been the club’s digital partner since 2003, Rippleffect was asked to develop a social media campaign that would support its offline message, 'Stand Together' – a reference to fans and players lining up side-by-side to face the season ahead. The campaign would be required to boost 2012/13 season ticket sales while increasing engagement between the club and its fans. Campaign objectives The following objectives were outlined by Everton's in-house team at the beginning of the campaign: • Increasing sales – Season ticket prices had increased, and so too had the club's sales targets. The primary objective of the campaign would be to generate enough buzz around the new season that the club achieved its ambitious targets. • Grow online sales – One of the most important objectives was to increase the percentage of season ticket sales that take place online. This would help the club to process sales more efficiently and cost-effectively. • Increase engagement – The campaign needed to strengthen Everton’s position as 'The People’s Club', which would mean increasing engagement between the club and its fans. • Grow follower numbers – Among the KPIs set by the club was to increase the number of followers on Twitter to 50,000; and increase Facebook likes by 100,000. Achieving long-term success In order to reach the objectives, we worked with Everton to identify some of the wider and longer-term objectives that we could have achieved with the campaign. These were: • Putting the players and the fans on a level playing field – it was important to communicate that the club, its players and its fans are in this together. Social media gets people closer to their idols. Twitter in particular has built its success on people being able to have two way engagements with celebrities and footballers. We wanted to harness this so that the club took ownership of this and was the facilitator in getting the fans closer to the players • Using social to drive the offline activity – encouraging people to get involved and try to be in the right place at the right time for the ‘drops’ but also create wholly social activities for those fans that do not live in Liverpool. It is important that, as an international football club, Everton can appeal to all fans across the world • Creating positivity around the 2012/13 season – There was a price rise to season tickets, so we wanted to take the focus off this and instead focus on the positive messages. Everton had a great end to the season and so we wanted to make sure the positive attitude in and around the club was maximised Strategy & Target Audience The premise of the campaign was to bring Everton fans closer to the football club and get them to 'Stand Together' with the players. We felt the best way to do this would be to increase interaction between fans and players. Our strategy therefore focused on integrating the excitement of face-to-face interaction with positive social media engagement. We wanted to acknowledge that being a season ticket holder gets you closer to the game as you are there week in week out doing your bit for the team. We wanted to put the fans at the forefront and show that the club and the players know that it is the fans that are the centre of the club. Action The 'Out of the Blue' campaign • One lucky fan was drawn out each week and treated to a surprise visit from an Everton first team player to hand-deliver their season ticket. Video footage was used to capture the moment they met and posted on Facebook to generate buzz around future 'drops'. • Everton's social media profiles were also used to tease out future drops with posts including clues and countdowns about where and when they were taking place • Drop venues were varied to maintain interest, show the diversity of the Everton fan base and, in some cases, support the club's corporate social responsibility (CSR). These locations included fans' homes, the high street, the club shop, local hospitals and a fire station. Other campaign elements It was important that the Stand Together campaign felt inclusive to all fans, not just those lucky enough to win the weekly draws. This would be vital for reinforcing Everton's standing as 'The People's Club' and its position as a global football club that is accessible to all fans. To achieve this, specific social media activity was devised including: • An online Xbox challenge where a fan could challenge a player • Live Q&A with players via the official Everton Twitter account • A Twitter-based quiz challenge; and • Players taking over fans account for the day Tone of voice Content strategy played an important part in the Stand Together social media campaign. Devised by Rippleffect and implemented by Everton's in-house team, a fresh and positive tone was introduced across all social media pages, which allowed for a more engaging campaign to be delivered. Results The social media campaign exceeded targets outlined at the outset of the campaign. Its successes included: Sales  Season ticket sales increased by 6.3 per cent on the previous year • This exceeded the club's  targeted growth of 5.1 per cent, despite difficult economic conditions and the new increase in season ticket prices • 54% of all season ticket sales were online – an increase of 5.3 per cent on 2011/12 Engagement • The number of fans following Everton across Twitter and Facebook increased by 101 per cent • This included an additional 115,000 on Facebook and surpassing the 50k target for Twitter by reaching 60,000 followers. Traffic (during 'early bird') • Visits to the season ticket area increased by 92.5per cent year-on-year • Daily average for unique visits is up 27.9 per cent year-on-year • 318,138 different people visited during the early bird period this year, compared to 189,108 in 2011 – an increase of 66.2 per cent Traffic (post 'early bird') • Visits to season ticket area increased 100% year-on-year • Unique visitors up by 13.3% year-on-year Media coverage The Out of the Blue element of the strategy was covered in the Liverpool Echo as well as in a report on Sky News, where the cameras followed Tim Cahill as he made his drop off on the high street in Liverpool. Due to these successes the club is now working towards making social media a central part of its season ticket campaign for 2013/14. URL The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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