SME NOW /
This weekend’s 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby marks SME’s 10-year anniversary of working with Churchill Downs. Throughout this decade-long partnership, SME not only created the master brand identity, but also every event identity since 2009. In addition, SME provided strategic counsel to elevate the Kentucky Derby from a beloved horserace to a lifestyle brand.
Dick Clark Productions partnered with SME to launch a branded content division within the company, helping evolve the organization from a venerable events production company to a cutting edge innovator that reinvents how brands engage with fans via a multitude of social media solutions, in ways never before seen or deployed.
“Because we are driven to be industry leaders and innovators in the realm of branded entertainment, we selected SME to help us position and brand our new branded content division, nxt, and to create our most important marketing and revenue generation assets – our new state-of-the-art digital sales platform and microsite.” — Greg Economou, EVP & Chief Revenue Officer — Dick Clark Productions
UConn and SME have partnered to develop an integrated brand marketing campaign—“UCONN NATION.” The campaign speaks to the unity and passion of UConn’s stakeholders, while bringing the university to the forefront.
Welcome to the Club: an updated identity for the iconic tournament in its first year hosted by TGR Live
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Genesis Open has introduced a new brand and marketing campaign ahead of the 2017 tournament. The Genesis Open will welcome the world’s best golfers and fans in Los Angeles to The Riviera Country Club February 13-19, with the new tagline ‘Welcome to the Club’.
The new Genesis Open brand position helps set the tournament apart from other sports and social events in Los Angeles. The Genesis Open is the only event on the LA sports calendar that grants access to the PGA TOUR’s biggest stars at the iconic Riviera Country Club. Guests are invited to craft their own premium experience in an exclusive setting. The annual event is the perfect social setting for all who want to attend a premium event unbound by seating charts, timeouts and stadium wall.
Embracing the tournament’s past while looking towards its future played a major role in developing the brand and marketing campaign. 2017 will be the 91st playing of the PGA TOUR’s Los Angeles event. With TGR Live, the new event management company, and Genesis, the new title sponsor, the Genesis Open brand will take a forward thinking approach to reshaping spectator experience at the Genesis Open. ‘Welcome to the Club’ is used throughout the brand campaign, emphasizing that tournament-goers will actively engage in the event rather than being a spectator as part of the crowd. Granting unparalleled access to golf’s greatest players at one of the sport’s most exclusive venues, the Genesis Open combines the prestige of tradition with a shared experience for guests and players.
The Genesis Open’s new brand is built on five pillars: Los Angeles, the PGA TOUR, Genesis, tournament host Tiger Woods, and a dynamic live event experience. The brand personality combines contemporary elegance and sophistication in a future-focused, fan-driven, respectful, premium yet accessible fashion.
To help the process of developing the new brand and marketing campaign for the Genesis Open, TGR Live enlisted SME. A strategic sports branding agency specializing in connecting with audiences through powerful brand identity and advertising development, SME played a key role in the ideation and brand position exploration as well as the development of the marketing campaign look and feel.
The Genesis Open is not just a sporting event – it’s a place to see and be seen, to conduct business and socialize. When you join the club, you receive an all-access pass to share the day with the world’s best golfers at the exclusive Riviera Country Club.
Following SME’s successful work with the Atlanta Braves on The Battery Atlanta mixed use development area as well as the new SunTrust Park premium seating sales campaign – DESTINATION: BRAVES, the new “Welcome Home” ticket sales campaign has been launched. The campaign aims at engaging fans and partners through the emotions associated with home, southern hospitality and friendliness. It is through this lens that the organization wishes to make fans aware of SunTrust Park’s incredible features and amenities never before available to Braves fans. Additionally, this campaign allows partners and sponsors to engage in non-transactional ways via the deep rooted and powerful emotions associated with home. The campaign will be presented through a mixed media approach including digital & social, TV & broadcast, radio, out of home and special events.
Adam Zimmerman, Braves vice president of marketing, said will be the team’s largest and most comprehensive campaign to date, breaking next month: a combination of outdoor, digital, print, radio, TV, social and event marketing, in both English and Spanish.
SME President Ed O’Hara said that, unlike campaigns he helped develop when the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins moved into new ballparks, the Braves’ efforts will lean on soft attributes.
“We’ll lead with qualities like hospitality and home and then let fans discover some things at SunTrust where these will be put into practice, like the 6,000-square-foot Chop House,” said O’Hara, whose agency has also done branding work supporting the neighboring 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta.
The president and chief creative officer of SME is an expert in sports branding who helps teams, leagues and events discover and communicate their core values.
There was a time when a sports organization looking for a change would create a new logo and call it good. But those days are long gone. Today, it’s all about the brand and how it’s communicated, from logos and merchandise to social media and fan engagement. Since he founded SME in 1989, Ed O’Hara has been at the forefront of that messaging, working with a roster of clients that have benefited from his firm’s take on branding. Among the groups that have worked with SME are the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, the NCAA, MLB, the New York Yankees, the Pac-12, the ACC and events such as the Kentucky Derby and the America’s Cup. O’Hara will be speaking at TEAMS ’15 on his approach to branding, particularly for the next generation.
In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, O’Hara discusses how branding has changed, the college uniform shuffle and why you need to get to know Gen Z.
What’s the biggest change in your approach to sports branding today compared to when SME started?
When we were formed, it was “let’s do a logo and increase our merchandising business.” Then it became “let’s be smarter about it, let’s do research and understand our consumer and what their wants are, and let’s tailor our brand toward them while not abandoning our core values.” Now we have a complete democracy of branding. There is such transparency via social media that we need to be very open and honest and transparent about the brand, what it stands for, what good things it’s doing in the world. It ties back to a greater understanding of our audiences and the changing media consumption habits that they’ve gone through.
To read the rest of this Q&A in the digital edition of SportsTravel, please click here.