From Outlier to Fan …The Canucks Experience

July 5, 2013


It’s all about the Halo. Experiential Marketing Lesson Number 3

By Bruce Nickson

This is the third in BCAMA’s Experiential Marketing Event held on June 18th.

Amplifying your Experience thru Social Media: Kevin Kinghorn, Director, Website & New Media – Canucks Sports & Entertainment

100 rabid fans are better than 1,000 “viewers”, meaning it’s about the psychology of the fan. That’s the big lesson. Kevin’s challenge is about two things: 1) How to build a better fan and 2) How to turn the outer ring of semi-engaged outliers into the engaged Canuck-head.

Since for every Canuck fan there is at least one opinion, the underlying challenge is to attempt to control the conversation about the brand. Of course, the Canuck marketing effort isn’t solely about the web property, far from it;  it’s about the conversations that are occurring on the likely suspects of the social world; Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and especially YouTube. Paradoxically, Kevin mentions, there are more visitors to these social media channels than to actual Canuck site. That’s a good thing? Not sure.


So how does it work? How do the Canucks get into the heads of the less-then-fully-engaged? Here’s one example. A fan (lets call him “Kevin”) Tweets that he’s pissed off about not being able to get hold of a particular Canuck jersey. The social media coordinator picks up the Tweet and starts the conversation. Net result, Kevin is now in proud possession of the hitherto for unavailable jersey. And guess what, he Tweets to all of his friends about it. You’d think, “no big deal’. However given the speed and volume of Canucks related Tweets, then this shows real commitment and attention to detail. Plus Kevin had a great experience because he had a one-to-one Canucks “thing” happen. I’m impressed.

However building scale on the social media channels risks losing control of the conversation. Most of us judge digital success by our website metrics. However the trick is not to build engagement around the site but around the brand. Which leads to the question: “how to speak to that audience?”

Kevin’s response? “We’re storytellers.” Talk to the people through stories. How do you do that? First, Kevin and his crew have access to the players, second, because of this, they usually are first with the story.

 For example, the question might be: What is Ryan Kesler’s worst habit?


So here’s the deal: there is nothing more compelling than real time intimate connection with trusted people.

 Kevin’s thought is to give the outliers that behind the scenes and privileged view into how the team works, plays and performs. This allows fans into the process of the making of the marketing piece.

 This leads to the next strategy: syndication. As you allow the fans into the process of making “semi-produced media” released through Twitter and YouTube, the fans have experienced the process of creating broadcast ready television. And then you distribute like crazy. Potential reach? 45 million.

So, deepening the connection between quality and quantity helps create the halo.

Bruce Nickson is employed in the sales and marketing of engineering services and is embarking on (yet another) startup in the technology space.