Accenture has revealed its plans to transform fan engagement for Springbok supporters following the launch of SA Rugby’s new responsive digital fan platform.
The reimagining and building of the new digital fan platform forms part of Accenture Digital’s partnership agreement as the proud official digital partner to SA Rugby and the Springboks, as the federation embraces digitisation as a key enabler of its strategic aspirations.
“Digital technology and social media have transformed how modern fans watch, support and engage with their favourite teams,” comments SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux. “To maintain our relevance amid this new market dynamic, and grow our fan base, we’ve acknowledged the vital need to digitally transform our organisation.”
“SA Rugby’s ambition to pivot to a more fan-centric strategy requires digital design, content, platforms and insights because modern consumers, including loyal Springbok supporters, engage predominantly via mobile digital channels and expect hyper-personalised experiences,” explains Wayne Hull, MD for Accenture Digital in Africa.
Accenture Digital’s development process started with quantitative and qualitative research, which informed the user experience (UX) design guidelines and content strategy for the digital fan engagement platform.
To know what fans want, we needed to understand the fans themselves. The Accenture Digital team mined the research data and identified multiple fan ‘personas’, which all have different content consumption, platform functionality and engagement preferences.
The platform development team focused on three critical elements to meet these requirements – the customer experience (CX), the engagement engine and cloud-based deployment.
To deliver a memorable and engaging CX, Accenture Digital leveraged leading digital experience software. The result is a fully integrated and responsive platform that creates seamless, personalised digital fan experiences across SA Rugby’s content, commerce and digital marketing initiatives in a manner that makes fans feel recognised and connected to the players and the game.
At the heart of this experience lies content. Passionate local rugby fans are always eager to learn more about the game, tournaments and the players. As the custodian of the Springbok brand, SA Rugby is, therefore, the pre-eminent source of that information. The new platform will now serve as the first point of call for any rugby fan who wants to get their data fix with exclusive statistics, analytics and insights.
As a consequence, the platform’s content style will include more visual elements – videos and images – with more concise articles that are easier to digest, in accordance with evolving content consumption preferences on mobile screens. This will complement the long-form thought leadership and insight pieces for which SA Rugby is renowned.
In addition, fans will enjoy exclusive access to unique player-related content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and game and training performance stats. SA Rugby will also benefit from the ability to proactively track comments and mentions via the Sitecore analytics platform Accenture Digital implemented, to respond and engage in the conversations Springbok fans are having on social media about the game, the teams or the players.
To do this, SA Rugby required a consolidated view of the customer. However, data resided in disparate sites across ticketing providers and SA Rugby’s e-commerce and online magazine databases. This information will be consolidated into the CRM system, with multiple integration points available to leverage this data.
The CRM system’s functionality will help to reveal insights such as fan communication preferences and their likes and dislikes, which will place hyper-relevance at the core of SA Rugby’s fan experience and engagement strategy.
The final element in the platform development was cloud deployment, which allows fans to access the platform from any device that has an internet connection. The platform is hosted within the Microsoft Azure environment, which is stable, secure and fully redundant. It gives SA Rugby the flexibility to manage the platform themselves, with the option to integrate or scale additional functionality down the line.
Based on the outcome, Hull believes that Accenture Digital has successfully reimagined, built and delivered a world-class, modern and mobile-friendly digital fan platform that creates a fun, immersive and engaging experience for fans.
“It’s a major step towards helping SA Rugby realise its ambition to become a fan-centric, forward-looking and nimble organisation, and we look forward to building and developing the platform further with the team as their digital fan engagement requirements evolve,” he concludes.