Ministry of Sport

Bernie Johnson: 5-Steps to Build a Winning Digital Strategy for Sports Organisations

In the fifth interview of our Annual Conference speaker series, we talk with director of Adrenalin Media, Bernie Johnson.

Looking at everything that has and hasn’t worked in the sports marketing industry in the past year, whilst also showcasing major players, innovators and game changers disrupting the sports industry – these interviews will offer a preview to the kind of insights on display to administrators in November.

With the Annual Conference at QT Gold Coast on Thursday, November 15th drawing near, you can find more information about the event on our event page or for ticket purchases you can visit oztix here.

In 2004, armed with a passion for big brands and online marketing, Bernie recognised the potential for Australian digital marketing to be at the forefront of the world in terms of innovation, technology and customer engagement. He established the digital agency Adrenalin in the same year and is currently the Director of the company. The agency has 45 staff and a client roster including NBN, Mirvac, UNSW, Supercars and Sanofi.

Under Bernie’s leadership, Adrenalin has been recognised as one of Australia’s leading digital agencies and were winners in two categories at this year’s AMY Awards. In 2017 the agency won the AC&E Best User Experience Award, three AMY Awards and was a finalist in the B&T Employer of the Year Awards.

Before this, Bernie held investment banking positions at Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in the UK where he managed a number of IT projects. Bernie holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney and an MBA through the Australian School of Business (UNSW).

1. What will you be covering during your presentation at the Ministry of Sports Annual Conference?

I’ll be talking through some proven steps we use at Adrenalin to create successful digital strategies for our clients – practical guidelines that can be easily followed by any organisation. Most businesses get overwhelmed at the sheer scale of planning needed to implement a comprehensive digital strategy – but you can start small and scale, which allows you to get some initial runs on the board. The session will also cover emerging technologies, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and the massive impact already being felt by the arrival of AI. We’ll look at how sports organisations can leverage AI to create a better experience for fans, driving loyalty and commercial value.

2. What are the 2-3 key learnings that attendees will take away?

Digital Transformation is an overly used term that’s often associated with complexity, cost blow-outs and project overruns. The reality however is that true digital transformation doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive or years in the making – it simply means leveraging technology in a structured way to better serve your customers. The most practical approach when crafting a digital strategy for your business is to start simple – focus on delivering small, incremental wins for your customers and fans which keep them engaged, but hungry for more. Key to this is changing the mindset of your organisation to not only think more like a customer, but to adopt a “test and learn” approach to all activity which impacts how customers engage with your brand across key channels. This includes social media, PR, websites, email, CRM and paid advertising. The other consideration is that successful digital strategy executions also treat employees and internal stakeholders as “customers”, so it’s imperative you get internal buy-in across the entire organisation for any strategic initiatives – key to this is helping to answer that question of “What’s in it for me?”.

3. Why is this presentation important for sports administrators right now?

The pace of change we’re seeing unfold across the digital landscape means that consumers and fans are now more empowered than ever before; they’re demanding – and expecting – a frictionless experience with the brands and teams they support. To build sustainability and longevity into any digital strategy it’s critical that sports administrators don’t simply chase the next “cool thing” but, rather implement a strategic model which can evolve over time. The session will outline practical steps to implement a robust digital strategy within your business, with a focus on leveraging new and emerging technologies alongside traditional marketing fundamentals. Key takeaways include:

  • 5-point checklist to create an effective digital strategy
  • How to use the principals of Design Thinking to think like a customer
  • The rising role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in customer engagement
  • Where most businesses fail with digital transformation
  • How to achieve organisational buy-in for your strategy
Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney