How RBS are winning the battles of the 6 Nations sponsors with real time…

As a rugby nut, with a keen interest in marketing, social and sponsorship, I’m always keeping a close eye on what the big sports brands are doing on social to extend their partnerships beyond just lending a name to a jersey.

Last year, I took a look at how O2 were activating their Irish rugby sponsorship for example, while the NFL, Rabo and Eircom other good examples of creating content that facilitates the fan, rather than just using sponsorship as an opportunity to talk about how great your company is.

For the 6 Nations this year, sponsor RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) has seriously impressed me. Following the lead of Rabo, RBS have been putting excellent quality highlights up on their YouTube channel almost instantly, ensuring that when fans want to look back at the game, their first port of call is the official channel and not an unofficial fan vid.

Along with game highlights, RBS has done a great job of creating interesting short form video content based on the 6 teams and the fans involved. The ‘Defining Moments’ series for example is a great watch for rugby fans, but also subtly branded.

Across Facebook and Twitter, the brand has been creating smart, real time imagery as the games unfold, designed to get fans talking back to the account. The official Twitter account has over 63k followers and, importantly, is proactive in seeking out responding to fans, while also offering up creative content that’d just aching to be shared by fans watching the game. Take a look at the below for example, and tell me you don’t want to hit RT!

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 11.50.56

On the official website, RBS also harness the hype around the games by creating smart, incisive written content.

Importantly, everything that’s produced is coherently branded, in terms of font and look & feel.

For me, sponsorship in this day and age is all about facilitation of fans and content creation. To be effective, it  must be so much more than just a labelling exercise. If you look at great sponsorship brands like Nike, Beats, Red Bull and Budweiser (check out their music portal if you don’t believe me) you’ll see all of the above in effect.

With the rugby market becoming increasingly crowded due to popularity, RBS are a shining example of how to undertake simple, engaging activity that ultimately drives brand equity.