Tag Archives: nfl

Your Brain On Football

It’s kickoff time. And whether it’s played at high schools,
colleges or in NFL stadiums, football is increasingly becoming America’s game.
Women now make up 44 percent of the NFL fan base, for example, and last season,
the sport drew in a record number of Hispanic viewers as well. The game is even
a hot export, with four teams scheduled to compete in England this season. That
means that marketers are using more football imagery (and across more
categories) than ever: Sabra Hummus, in the hopes that the gridiron can make
chickpeas seem macho, is now the official dip of the NFL
For those of us who study the emotional centers of the
brain, though, the real game is in decoding why there is a growing fascination
with a decidedly primitive pastime: Winning requires speed, guts and
bone-crushing power.
In general, spectator sports get their emotional appeal from
a very basic human drive’the need to shape an identity that lets us belong to
one group, while differentiating us from others. (Like when we threw rocks at
rival tribes thousands of years ago.) But because we’re civilized now and can’t
engage in that kind of bloodthirsty bonding, sports provide a very interesting
and emotionally useful release. They allow us to explore and engage with those
primal areas of identity that we may be unable to express in the real
world. 
In the case of football, it’s a very particular mode of
vicarious identification: The ritualized conflict of the game provides an
outlet for our personal desires to be aggressive and emerge triumphant. It
provides as well an important outlet for sublimating all of the slights and
injuries we suffer in the real world, but can’t do anything about directly. We
may not be allowed to knock irritating coworkers to the ground. But our beloved
Giants (or Vikings, Broncos or Bears) can.
Of course, all sports are ritualized conflict, to a degree.
But because football is more full-throatedly physical, it’s more emotionally
visceral. (My apologies to those who have been body slammed in basketball
games.)  In fact, football is probably
the closest thing we have to a modern day form of the gladiatorial contest ‘
the popular (so we hear) spectator sport for our ancestors.
Affiliation with the local team of football warriors is so
powerful for some people that it spills out beyond weekend games. They express
their feelings of belonging through bumper stickers, tattoos, team jerseys, and
house flags (I keep waiting to see motorcycle helmets.)
 
Sports team loyalties also provide strong social signal value,
as we become members of a ‘club’ of those around us who like and follow a team.
The explosion of fantasy leagues has created a new level of fandom, where we
actually get to manage teams, as well as watch them.
Women join the huddle

The emergence of women as a key fan base for the NFL,
though, is even more fascinating. Women’s roles have evolved, moving from historic
social pressures to seem (if not actually be) submissive, into a modern social
context that allows ‘ or even encourages — being increasingly assertive.  Football provides another place for women to
swap out the old fashioned pacifist, nurturing role and try on something a
little different.
This piece of cultural evolution has an interesting double
edge: at the same time that football is having an impact on women’s changing emotional
lives, women’s emotional orientation is influencing the culture of football.  Women’s increasing involvement in football
(both as activist parent and as spectator) is very probably implicated in the much
greater attentiveness in football at all levels to its risks, especially
concussions and the role they play in serious brain injury.
While some people may lament what they see as a sissification,
(I concede it was probably fun to watch guys with swords compete in pits
thousands of years ago, too.) having spectator sports that bring both sexes
together in a continuously evolving ‘modern gladiatorial game’ is probably an
emotionally desirable outlet for modern life.
So let’s salute the arrival of another football season ‘
giving us a great opportunity to cut loose when we need to and give the ‘bad
guys’ some serious pushing, shoving, and a good taste of the dirt.  Our vicarious victories will as always have a
thousand fathers (we really annihilated ‘em!) while our team’s defeats can remain
orphans (the bums just couldn’t get it together.) And then of course there’s
that Seven Layer Bean Dip’
About the Author:
David Forbes holds a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark
University, and was a member of the faculties of Harvard Medical School
Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Laboratory of Human Development before
beginning his career as a business consultant. He founded Forbes Consulting
over 20 years ago as a strategic market research consultancy dedicated to
creating business advantage through psychological consumer insights. He has
since built Forbes into a major resource for scores of major corporations in
the CPG, Financial Services, and Pharmaceuticals industries, domestically and
internationally. David is the creator of the MindSight?? emotional
assessment technologies, a suite of applied neuropsychological methods for understanding
consumer emotion and motivation, without the distortions of conscious editing
and self presentation.  

Scoring the Data: NFL Insights on Audience Engagement & Fan Experiences

Just last week, Twitter announced a big “big partnership with the NFL, which will bring video highlights and other content from America’s most popular sport to the social network.”

According to All Things Digital, “the pact is one of Twitter’s Amplify deals, which let TV programmers distribute short video clips, preceded by even shorter video ads, on the service. Both Twitter and the programmers are able to sell the ads, and share the revenue”.

Now, we’ve been lucky enough to chat with Alicia Z. Rankin, Director of Research and Fan Insights, National Football League, on several occasions and we would like to recap what she’s shared:

In How Fan Data is Enhancing the NFL Gameday Experience, Alicia spoke about innovating and differentiating the onsite game experience from the television experience to ensure that one doesn’t cannibalize the other. Factors like lack of wifi in stadiums and other at home comforts make it challenging to get fans to the game but the NFL is really invested in changing the experience to offer things like a referee or locker cam that fans at home don’t always have access to.

She goes into the experience and insights in the lecture below:

Last year, when we revisited Alicia, she encouraged researchers to understand the business they’re doing research for as best they can then bring actionable insights to teams that fit their customer database. View the chat entire below:

 

You may remember we talked to her a couple of years back about “the different segmentation challenges that take shape for the NFL and some of the things they do to address those issues.

Download Alicia’s podcast here.
Download a transcript of the podcast here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book Group, Valerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation Blog, The Market Research Event Blog, The World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Flashback Friday: Measure Up Podcast Series

In a new addition to our Flashback Friday series we are highlighting content from the 2010 Measure Up event to gear up for Measure Up 2011. Measure Up 2011, June 6-8 in Boston, MA will focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to online activities; specifically, Social Media.

Looking back at Measure Up 2010, we revisit our Measure Up Speaker Spotlight:
A 3-Tiered Model for Measuring Social Media Success and How Social Media Saved Pitney Bowes $300K ‘ An Interview with Aneta Hall / Pitney Bowes-Part 2
This post is co-posted with StevenGroves.com.
In episode 1 of the interview with Aneta Hall / Emerging Media Manage at Pitney Bowes (PB) and a presenter at the 2010 MeasureUp Conference in Chicago in March, we talked about the need to develop a sustainable effort and a need to provide guidance to the staff that supports the interaction with customers, prospects and stakeholders.

In this episode, Aneta talks with Guy Powell and myself about how the elements of a relevant online strategy for PB includes traditional elements, like before social media came to onto the scene, but now it has changed many of the ways PB structures campaigns to their audience.

Play / Download Aneta Hall / Pitney Bowes Episode 2 Podcast Here
(Have you entered our trivia contest yet? It’s not too late to win a copy of ROI 0f Social Media. Click here for details.)

Flashback Friday: Measure Up Podcast Series

Flashback Friday: Measure Up Podcast Series
In a new addition to our Flashback Friday series we are highlighting content from the 2010 Measure Up event to gear up for Measure Up 2011. Measure Up 2011, June 6-8 in Boston, MA will focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to online activities; specifically, Social Media.

Looking back at Measure Up 2010, we revisit our Measure Up Speaker Spotlight: Alicia Rankin, Head of Research and Fan Insights, NFL.

Over the next few weeks, in preparation for the Measure Up Marketing conference we’ll be highlighting conversations focusing on marketing measurement best practices. Our first speaker is Alicia Rankin, Head of Research and Fan Insights, NFL.

Listen to the conversation:Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Download Alicia’s podcast here.
Download a transcript of the podcast here.

Interested in hearing more from quality speakers like this? Register for Measure Up 2011, June 6-8 2011 in Boston, MA here.

To stay up to date on Social ROI and marketing analytics news, follow Measure Up on Twitter at @MeasureUpIIR or connect on LinkedIn.

Measure Up Speaker Spotlight: Alicia Rankin, NFL

Over the next few weeks, in preparation for the Measure Up Marketing conference we’ll be highlighting conversations focusing on marketing measurement best practices. Our first speaker is Alicia Rankin, Head of Research and Fan Insights, NFL.

Listen to the conversation:Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Download Alicia’s podcast here.
Download a transcript of the podcast here.

How sociable are you?

In a recent post at Beth’s Blog, she shared a new application she came across. How Sociable? takes a look at how you’re branding is faring in the social world. Inuda Innovations are the engineers behind the project. You can keep up with their blog here.
According to How Sociable’s blog post, here’s how the scores are measured:
We took a set of benchmark results using one globally recognised traditional brand and gave it a score of 1000. To ensure that even small, local brands would register we made it a sliding scale. For example, Coca-Cola has around 8,000 times more photos mentioning them on Flickr compared to our company Inuda, but we still get a score of 10 for having some photos rather than getting 0.
I took some time to check Facebook’s brand visibility, and it received a score of 3187. A much larger brand, for example, the NFL has a score of 1483, while the US Open has a score of 773. What’s your brand’s score? Do you think this tool will help you improve your use of the social web?