Focus on the fans: Transforming clubs through digital

Last week the Perago-Wales team took a day out to focus on business development and forward planning. I never cease to be surprised how much value you get out of clearing your collective minds (and diaries) and focusing together for a day, but as well as being a productive and fun day, it was our location that got me thinking.

Our office for the day was the Liberty Stadium. Home to our regional rugby union team, the Ospreys and of course Swansea’s Premier League Football team, Swansea City. At a recent event Chris Pearlman, COO of Swansea City talked about the global reach and economic value of the club and what this means for the local economy.  The club has had to grow and evolve and, like most football clubs, has had its fair share of challenges along the way.

Jack to a King

The club has quite a story and quite a history. Jack to a King, the Swansea City story is well worth a watch even if you only have a passing interest in football. There’s a reason why Leon Britton bought a copy for each of his team mates as Swansea battled for premiership survival this season. It draws on the pride, passion and the importance of the club in the community and what stands out is the position of the fan at the centre of the culture of the club.

A focus on user need

One of the key things we look at when we work with an organisation on transforming through digital is understanding the user need. Digital isn’t about taking your current processes and putting them on line.  That might give you a shiny website, but it won’t give you the efficiencies and platform to really succeed.  Transforming through digital is about understanding the needs of your users and challenging your culture, organisational design and product. It’s about understanding the data you have and how to use it to develop your business to meet the needs of your users. It is about your whole organisational strategy and culture.

Football is no different

The expectations of fans and stakeholders have shifted, just as our expectations around the way we bank or shop have shifted. How different is the average football fan today compared to 20 years ago? Have clubs really looked at how they engage with fans and build their business around their needs? In his recent blog Steve McCaskill explores how Real Madrid has embarked on a digital transformation programme and appointed a digital head. They have recognised the need to look at how the club uses data and technology to create a business model for a digital age, putting the fan at the centre.  Here’s where real digital engagement comes in. Creating a two way conversation with fans and building a relationship – tapping into the global market that is open to top flight clubs. Thanks to our digital society,  the world really is a football club’s oyster. The opportunity is here for every business to step back, focus on their users and assess their organisational strategy.

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