The NBA Gets It Right

As I was going through the daily cool down of checking my phone and dozing off, I spotted some incredible branding efforts by one of the most recognizable organizations in the public eye: the National Basketball Association.

Not only the content, but the execution ticked a handful of great branding checkboxes as well. Before we talk about those though, just take a few minutes (read: hours) watching this awesome .gif.

Holy hell Brodie! You are one bad dude.

The NBA not only created some incredible content (that I can only assume will be airing immediately and everywhere), they were also spot-on with a handful of the execution elements as well. The entirety of their post reads “Thought Reddit would enjoy Westbrook morphing into a glasses wearing Bruin” followed by the link. What caught my eye initially, surprisingly, was the amount of respect the NBA showed the medium they chose. It is incredibly important to not only respect the medium, but also to market like it is the year we live in. Reddit is one of the toughest places for brands and companies to be active in. This isn’t because Reddit is a group of trolls, but because their collective bullshit meter is off the charts. Redditors are incredibly intelligent at sniffing out your intention, whether it be a large organization plugging away or a punk stealing a joke, Redditors are pros at calling somebody out. BUT, it is 2015 and a large chunk of the NBA’s audience spends time using that outlet, so that is where the NBA should be. Wherever the attention of your consumer is, be there. It’s 2015 (!!!) this has never been easier.

That is enough to scare a lot of brands away from the platform. “Why take the risk?” Well, the reason to take the risk is simple. If other people aren’t doing it, more often than not it means it is an opportunity just waiting to be properly executed. The NBA opened themselves to ridicule and just embraced the medium. It worked because they respected the medium they chose. It sounds easy, but so many brands make sure to stay a safe distance away.

The execution is what brought it all together. The NBA respected the behavior of how people act while on Reddit and played to those behaviors. Bravo. The post didn’t read “Our Brand New Advertisement: Check It Out!” It was a title that was crafted in a voice that could have been any other redditor. Being “one of us” builds a lot of equity and goes a long way. Again, a quick golf clap to the NBA’s team for knowing what the hell they were doing.

Reddit users traditionally have their strongest piece of content as the main link, then (in order to provoke more conversation) put bonus in the comment area. The NBA did this and didn’t stop there. The NBA didn’t leave 8 different links to 8 different YouTube locations, they built a easy-to-use playlist. One more layer of friction gone. Niiiiiiiice.

BUT, the best aspect of the entire content push was the simplest. The NBA chose the correct medium for the content. The built in voting system on Reddit makes it so that the best content rises to the top of the site and gives it more visibility. So, if you have some really great content on your hands that all of your fans will love (I think we can all agree that this qualifies), then the location is the most important part of the whole process. The NBA nailed that too. What can you steal and copy for your branding needs? Simple, market in the current year and respect whatever medium you are on. Isn’t it lovely seeing some proper execution, let alone some content that is brilliantly tied to the hype train that is college basketball this time of year. Thanks NBA 😎.

P.S. — Here is the playlist for the rest of the videos again. My list, 1. Harden. 2. Paul 3. Westbrook. Yours?

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