ABOUT THIS ENTRY
The Devils have created a unique brand voice that is distinctly New Jersey with the goal to specifically target their fan base, increase fan positivity and engagement, while driving interest in the team on a level that transcends team performance on the ice.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
The benchmark this sets is that developing a proper brand voice that speaks to your particular fan base, cultivating it, and fueling it, can ultimately lead to big gains in followers and jumps in fan positivity. This type of progress could inspire clubs to loosen the reins of what may be considered proper organizational social voice allowing them to connect better with the modern sports fan, who wants to be entertained in and outside of the arena.
Objective: The social voice of the brand has a flavor of Jersey sass and wit, mixed with a fun and irreverent style of posting, and a "we don't like you either" mentality toward the haters. As it pertains to Instagram specifically, the goal on this particular platform was to limit the amount of standard marketing and team coverage content deployed there, and to instead increase the amount of fun and conversation driving posts. This meant leaning heavily into memes and chiming in to current events outside of hockey to help drive fan engagement and conversation.
Strategy & Execution: There had to be a rough-around-the-edges approach to the copy and creative the Devils deployed on Instagram to form a cohesive bond with the brand voice. But the first step was increasing the quality and standard of photography and consistency of coloring on the feeds. The next step was engaging with fans more in the comments, which became a further extension of our brand voice. The Devils would make it a point to roast fans, and even the bots that plague the comment sections of Instagram, in order to generate humor and spark conversation. The next step was to begin mixing in memes and humor with more regularity and a consistent cadence. The Instagram account became akin to a reddit thread filled with memes and humor, helping keep fans engaged, particularly when hockey was paused due to COVID-19. It also allowed the Devils to chime in on current events and trending moments the modern sports fan finds interesting or humorous.
The results since the Devils made this switch in September have been staggering. Since making the voice switch in the fall, the Devils have climbed the standings in the league engagement rankings. Despite having the 28th most followers on Instagram, the Devils rank 2nd in follower growth since Dec. 1, 2020, 11th in engagement rate, and 12th in total engagement in the NHL. In that timespan, the Devils have two of the top three most engaging posts of any club on Instagram. They also have two of the top four most impactful posts of any club since Dec. 1. But the key metric is the second-overall growth in following, which is a major organizational goal as the Devils continue to increase their reach. In addition, our new tone and voice has amplified our brand on many external media channels, with posts being picked up by the ESPN, Sportscenter, Bar Down, and Sportsnet accounts, and many more.
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