Understanding why we communicate

It is one of the great privileges of working at Sports Community that we get to travel around the country working with literally thousands of community sports clubs. When we run a social media, communication or marketing session we ask a very simple question:
Why does your club communicate?

While we get many answers generally the purpose of communication is simply:

“To assist clubs to achieve their goals”

Admittedly, this is a very simplistic statement, but when you think about it, what other reason would there be?

It is amazing how much time and effort clubs put into their social media, email newsletters, and websites without knowing what they are really trying to achieve.

Conversely, once you understand what you are trying to achieve it is so much easier to understand how to best use all the different communication methods available to clubs today.

A fundamental part of understanding what you are trying to achieve is to understand what the goals of your club are.

If we break down the concept of why clubs communicate down a little further we realise that there are generally three completely different reasons for why they communicate:

  • Operational communication – this informs club participants of current club information such as training updates, match time changes, etc
  • Building relationships – where we seek to build and maintain relationships with the different groups of people who have an interest in our club. Relationship building communication seeks to form and then grow the relationship between the club and the individual until there is a very strong sense of belonging between the club and each individual.
  • Call to action – where the club is asking for assistance from their audience for various activities around the club, from training and assisting with match-day functions, to fundraising and social events.

At many clubs the only time its audience really hears from them is when the club wants something – call to action communication. Many clubs spend time building the relationship between the club and the individual and then wonder why they get very little response to their calls to action.

The foundation of your club’s communication strategy should always be relationship-building communication.

Imagine for a moment you are the owner of a local business and yet another club representative, who you have never met, walks in the door and asks you to sponsor the club. What are you likely to say?

If there is no existing relationship the answer is likely to be no or the very minimum you could get away with.

Now consider you are still the owner of that same business, who could walk through the door, and if you were in a position to do so, you would sponsor without question?

  • Your spouse and children
  • Friends and family
  • Key clients or maybe key suppliers

You will highly likely sponsor the people with whom you have a close relationship.

This concept applies equally to clubs as well. If clubs develop close relationships or a strong sense of belonging with its audience and stakeholders then they are much more likely to participate in club activities and ultimately help the club achieve its goals.

Taking this concept further, the best way our club can maximise its potential is to have as many relationships as possible with people who have an interest or passion for our club or who can help your club achieve its club goals.

This means if our clubs to have a lot of high quality relationships then as their foundation we need to have a high quality communication strategy.

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