As a company that has its imagery on many of the mainstream news websites throughout the world, Getty images is well placed to comment on what makes sports imagery effective. And, in an article timed to coincide with the lead up to the 2015 Cricket World Cup, the company shares a few insights on what it takes for brands to connect effectively with audiences through sports imagery.
According to Getty, strong photo and video content captures what people love most about sport—strength, speed, skill, teamwork, stamina and passion. And these elements also provide powerful vehicles to carry brands forward. But this doesn't happen automatically. For brands to connect to an audience through the imagery, Getty recommends the following five rules:
Because sport fans are so engaged with the action unfolding on the pitch, Getty recommends not disrupting their experience but rather joining in.
"Bringing audience participation into a campaign creates the sense of connection fans love and taps into the creative power of the sports crowd."
According to the article, it's also worth noting that in roughly one third of US States, the most popular locations from which photos are shared are sports venues—making the fan zones key in connecting brands to the event.
Tell a story
Getty says that the imagery should tell a story and complement the text on the page. In making this point, the article points to Red Bull and its publication the Red Bulletin, which is combining long-form storytelling with powerful imagery to relay its brand positioning to consumers.
As evidenced by Oreo's 'Power our. No problem. You can still dunk in the dark' tweet, responding in real time to a current event can, when executed properly, be very effective in connecting a brand with fans. Given that sports events are viewed live, this approach of responding to events as they occur can help to keep brands in touch with what is important to their consumers at a given moment.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Today's consumers have second screens in their pockets that brands would do well to engage with. During the Super Bowl, Audi hooked up with the Onion on Snapchat to run a mobile campaign while the action was unfolding on the pitch.
One massive advantage of sporting events is that action imagery is very shareable, in that action shots of sports people can relay so much emotion.
Choose the right platform
Social media has for quite some time now provided a means by which fans can initiate conversations with their sports stars. And these conversations are becoming more visual as fans share videos, photos and .gifs of their favourite sports stars in action.
Looking back at the FIFA World Cup, Robin van Persie's sensational header against Spain was one of the standout images that travelled around the interwebs for weeks. What 140 characters failed to say was perfectly relayed in a snapshot of the Dutch forward diving through the air.