It is hard to name a more impactful sports beverage in our lifetime than Gatorade and it is also hard to name a ‘hotter’ social media platform right now, not named TikTok. These two giants embody the summer dream – stay hydrated and create cool content.
Recently Gatorade launched a content marketing campaign on TikTok after selecting a group of athletes to make up the “Gatorade Social Squad.” The squad will be in charge of posting content from now until November on TikTok, The athletes were chosen based on age, personality and of course social influence (following). Will we see creative Gatorade showers post-game? Perhaps a Blue Fierce chugging competition? While the content is still a secret, what Gatorade and TikTok are creating is a blueprint the industry should take notice of, and study. Let’s examine further:
Submissions: Gatorade help “tryouts” for their social squad, receiving thousands of video submissions of athletes wanting to be chosen. Before the squad was assembled, Gatorade was already drawing buzz and engagement for free by asking players if they wanted to be involved. Sure, influencer relations are build on financial compensation – but the personal connection should never be underestimated. Gatorade doesn’t need athletes to tell us about the product or why we should drink it – they need players to get creative and make us laugh, smile and remember the product in ways we haven’t yet.
New Rules, New Opportunities: The NCAA has recently updated the rules to allow college players to profit from their name and personal brand. For those not close to college sports (especially football), this is a ‘game-changer.’ While Gatorade has not confirmed the athletes chosen, nor discussed any connection to the new NCAA regulations – a keen digital marketer and sports fan can connect the dots. The desire for collegiate athletes to create a personal brand and make a profit makes it even easier for a brand like Gatorade to engage with athletes and have the ideas be brought to them.
Content Creation: Having a template for influencers to follow can work very well. This time, Gatorade has increased its chances of success by taking the limitations off their content creators. Knowing your influencers and your audience is key – Gatorade is a brand that transcends too many sports and too many diverse fan groups around the world to have strict content guidelines. The chosen influencers will be organic and use the skills that get them a large following to make sure the content is not forced, but relatable.
Channel Selection: The TikTok craze is not new, the social platform has been top-of-mind for marketers in the recent years as the user base and engagement rates increase. TikTok advertising is still an infant compared to other social giants like Facebook for example. TikTok benefits by taking on large brands and advertising dollars while Gatorade promotes fans to their platform and influencers. I have heard compelling arguments for and against channel-specific content campaigns – I personally am a fan.
If you are a brand looking to increase engagement and track content back to ROI, look into using influencers similar to how Gatorade will. Understanding an influencers’ true appeal to their following is the key to creating the correct strategy.