La Liga outfit Sevilla FC are embarking on an ambitious global marketing strategy to grow the clubs brand across the world. Premier Sports Network spoke to club CEO José María Cruz regarding their plans.
The club’s aspirations of expanding their worldwide reputation comes off the back of on-pitch success in recent years, that has seen them become one of the formidable forces inside of the Spanish top flight football league.
From 2014 to 2016, the club dominated the UEFA Europa League competition, winning the title three years consecutively, making them the record holders for having won the trophy more times than any other team, after winning it five times in just ten years (2006 and 2007) and extended that record this summer after defeating Inter Milan 3-2 in the final.
Sevilla’s European success has seen them compete on the biggest stage, not just in the Europa League but the UEFA Champions League as well, leading to the club’s pursuance of aligning that success off of the pitch too.
Premier Sports Network spoke to Sevilla’s CEO José María Cruz on the plans for the new global strategy:
Why has now been decided as the best time to launch a new global strategy?
“After 15 years where Sevilla FC experienced very important economic and sporting growth, given the current media paradigm and our ambition to continue growing internationally, it was time to give a strong boost to our brand. We focused on its definition, positioning, and homogenization, to help the club achieve its business objectives and established international expansion as part of an ambitious strategic plan. This project has taken more than a year of intense work, carried out with a transversal vision in which all areas of the club have participated.
“The strategic brand project arises from the need to address some of the objectives of our Strategic Plan: internationalization, digitization, and social relevance are key pillars to increase the value of the Club in the medium term. This project is not a simple change of identity. It is a comprehensive brand project, in which we have worked in a systemic way to identify the brand strategy, its purposes, values, and using these to tell the story of who we are. The new identity includes the design of all identifying symbols of the club, as well as the creation of its own and differential visual and verbal style.”
How will it be determined that the strategy has been successful?
“The objectives of this project are:
- Increase the club’s notoriety and global relevance. Through creating a current, differentiated, attractive and recognisable brand identity we will highlight our traditions and our close links to the city of Seville, which are a differentiator.
- Reach new audiences and markets. Through an attractive and increasingly well-known brand that allows us to connect with both current and potential audiences, always ensuring a way of explaining the club in “one voice”.
- Expand the voice of the brand beyond just football and take advantage of the synergies with the city of Seville at the national and international.
“The re-branding project has the firm objective of helping to achieve wider the objectives of the club’s strategic plan (Q1). For this, it is key to be able to differentiate ourselves from other football clubs. Sevilla FC transcends merely sports, sports and is an example for many. We are a club with a great history of struggle, effort, overcoming and success, and our values are to fight in the face of adversity and always aim higher.
“The first achievement is the excellent reception that the project is having among fans and that has also been reinforced by the extraordinary national and international reception that the club has had in recent months.
“The metrics by which the success of the project will be analysed are the traditional ones for any brand, such as indicators of notoriety or relevance among different audiences and across different channels. We will conduct different market studies in key areas in a systematic way (twice per year). We will combine this with business KPIs, since we have kept in mind that the brand can never be disconnected from the business.”
Has there been any inspiration taken from other football clubs or any other sporting teams?
“There are some important clubs that have already started this process and are very clear about the strategic importance of the brand and its link to the business. This process of professionalization of football clubs is a fairly recent thing from the last 5-10 years and there is still a long way to go, incorporating new profiles, working techniques and projects from other industries.
“Our main source of inspiration has not been other clubs but our history, the origins and trajectory of the club itself. Obviously, in the world of sports there are very powerful brands, but we have seen that Sevilla FC has a message as a brand that transcends sports and is an example for many companies and people, regardless of your preferences.
“Sevilla FC is a club with a great history of struggle, effort, overcoming and success, worthy of being analysed. We have never given up and will never give up in the face of adversity, against more powerful rivals.”
How has COVID-19 impacted the decision-making process?
“Covid has slowed down some projects, but it has also accelerated or made us rethink other projects that have gained greater importance within the organisation. Currently there is a fundamental aspect, which is to seek ways to connect and engage fans, general football fans and followers of sports in general. We want to generate a greater bond with them. It is also an opportunity to use the history of our club to create a narrative that connects with new targets and with new strategic countries. We have been able to put our fans, our city, our anthem and our stadium at the centre of our identity, to generate a unique and special experience capable of differentiating us.”
As part of the plans, Sevilla will take inspiration from its home city, Seville, as described via a press release from the club.
“We need to leverage our role as an integral part of the city of Seville to appeal to both domestic and international audiences,” the club explained.
“This means rolling out local initiatives and activations in the city whenever possible, while internationally we need to leverage the global appeal of the city given its outstanding tourist appeal.”
The final objectives of the club is to reach new levels and compete amongst Europe’s elite. The campaign will now operate through audio-visual channels to express Sevilla’s aims and aspirations.
“We want to compete with all of the rivals that traditionally should be within our grasp, whether they be Bayern Munich, Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan or AS Roma,” the club added.
“These are rivals we used to playing against should be able to beat to keep moving forward.”
“Regardless of what happens on the pitch, we are committed to achieving the desired brand image for Seville off of it, in order to continue to achieve new goals and challenges.
“We will consolidate our position as a top four club in the league but beyond this, as a real candidate to win LaLiga Santander.”
Author: Jake Wilkin