Working for the Atlanta Hawks this past season felt like it lasted about as long as a Snap. The anticipation before each game, the adrenaline rush of publishing live content, and the comedown at the end of the game… it all seemed to happen in a blink of the eye. Working in professional sports is not something everyone has the chance to experience, let alone working for a professional basketball team. It’s an experience I will never forget.
Let the games begin! Scrolling through the Atlanta Hawks Twitter page, you can instantly get a feel of the brand voice. It’s humorous and slightly sarcastic. The goal was to carry that same persona across all platforms so they flowed together. My personal goal each night was to show as many different perspectives of the game as possible. You want users to see new, original content every time they view your Snapchat story.
Game days are scheduled down to the second. Team members are visited by the barber for fresh haircuts; there’s a shoot-around, pregame interviews, coaches interviews, warm-ups and more. Showing each and every detail from the day––from personal haircuts to pre-game interviews–– gives viewers an exciting, behind the scenes look at what happens off the court.
One of my favorite moments was in the hallway before they run out onto the court. The only people allowed back there are the players, coaches, and security. Our fans needed to feel the same excitement that I felt when the guys jumped up and down to their A-T-L chant.
The beauty of Snapchat is that the fans get to see the players' personalities come to life on the platform. It was a dream-like experience getting to talk to the guys and ask them to do shoutouts on Snapchat. The guys loved it. The fans loved it. I loved it. Kyle Korver has an impeccable gift for unintentional photobombs:
The Hawks made history this season. It's difficult to come up with funny things to say for a 19-game win streak when season losses are few and far between, but having an arsenal of content ideas helped tremendously.Keeping the team spirit and positive energy alive was easy on Snapchat. The emotion and intensity could be felt through the content shared, and among users and their friends.
What else is Snapchat good for? Showing first hand what it’s like to be in the moment.
When Al Horford rebounded the shot from Schroder in the last second of Game 3 in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs, I was in the middle of the crowd right under the basket. That was just another moment among many where I wanted every fan viewing our story to feel what it really felt like to be #TrueToAtlanta.
Fans (especially if they're watching from home) should feel what the arena feels when the home team wins with only 1.3 seconds on the clock. They should see, firsthand, failure written all over Pierce’s face as he left Philips arena and headed back to DC. The goal of any team is to build excitement, a strong sense of team pride, and ultimately get fans to the game.One Snap alone can entice users to buy tickets to the next game.
The Hawks were one of the early NBA teams to be active on Snapchat (username Hawkssnaps). After last season, the account had the 3rd largest growth in followers on Snapchat in the NBA. It’s a huge brand and a popular team but the fact that they are willing to try new things is what sets them apart.
Working for a team that creates cutting-edge content builds anticipation to see the next creative marketing strategy another team runs with. This year the NBA became the first league to have custom geo-tagged filters in each of the team’s arenas. They’ve fully embraced Snapchat, and now it’s starting to become the most popular channel for all sports to use. The season is over but the experience of working with great people and a team that never gave up will never be forgotten.