AS Roma and the digital (r)evolution: How do they dominate on ‘digital field’ with only six people?

Marijan Palić
Dec 11, 2018 · 7 min read

As I already wrote in my previous article (it will be also soon available in English), impressions from an excellent SPORTO conference, which was held in November in Portorož (Slovenia) are still fresh. In my first article I tried to explain the secret of popular Chicago bulls on social media, and today I’ll write about Roma and the great job they do with digital.

At the head position of AS Roma came Paul Rogers, a Liverpool fan located in Boston. He is an extremely popular person in sports marketing.

Why? He totally dominated on digital with a small budget and a limited number of people. How small? They have one editor (in English), 3 persons in Italy, Paul and his colleague are in Boston. It means that there are only six people in a club like Roma. So, it’s possible.

We have a digital team. Not the team for social media, web etc. In this digital team, everyone does everything”, highlighted Rogers during the conversation.

But, let’s start from the beginning. The one thing that makes AS Roma so special is their Twitter — @asromaen, on which they have a lot of fun and draw the attention. The accent is on the interaction.

In the beginning, he marked that there is a huge difference in the way that clubs function because in the final of 2005 everything was done throughout SMS and web updates. Today, the story is completely different.

When he came to Roma in 2015, they decided for a complete transformation. At that time, the club didn’t have communication channels in English, so people outside Italy didn’t understand anything. This means that they couldn’t even be informed about the club nor communicate.

At the time when he worked at Liverpool, Paul Rogers tested the website in many languages, what resulted in a bigger number of visitors on the web. By then, visitors were mostly from the United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The most important thing here is the localisation, not only the translation. Fans should be in 1st place, not the club. At the time when he came to a club, AS Roma website was declared as the worst from all the websites by clubs who played Champions League.

The focus was on changes, so the website could become ‘mobile 1st’ because today almost everyone is on the mobile phone.

GOAL IS TO GET SYMPATHIES

Facebook is not that important and the goal was to make a high-quality web, because Facebook is somebody’s platform and who knows what can happen in the future with it. A lot of interesting content and stories are published on the web, so they even won the award for it.

“Every brand must understand that fans have control“, highlighted Rogers. He also said something that is definitely the truth for me:We don’t look what other clubs do. We don’t want to me like all of them. We can’t compete with Barcelona, that has around 200 million fans. If we copy them, we are like the same. My role models are Nike and individuals who have great ways of communication and interaction. You don’t need to be a big club to have an interaction. Roma is fun on Twitter and that is a place where humour goes well. We talk a lot with followers, and of course, not all of them support Roma.”

Rogers is Liverpool supporter and that won’t change. Their goals are to get sympathies from others, for example, Bayern, Liverpool or Real Madrid supporters, who will, because of the way they communicate, say: “Look, they are a cool club. I love them the most in Serie A…“ and those people might actually buy something.

BUDGET IS NOT A PROBLEM

Paul said that they don’t have the budget for professional video materials, but they all create it amateurishly, without a problem. You won’t believe, but people react better on amateur videos. They connect better with that kind of videos because it’s just a “make up“.

After Roma scored a goal against Barcelona (3:0 victory), which also meant that they qualify for next round in the Champions League, this was admin’s reactions. Sincere, at the moment of great excitement. As you can see, it has been retweeted for 173.464 times!

Paul likes to point that love to mock and make fun of other clubs. For example, when Lazio and Milan didn’t qualify in the Champions League last year.

They forgot Egypt on one of their graphics, so their former player tweeted and asked where Egypt is. They answered quickly and in a funny way, which caused excellent reactions.

They decided to have fun and publish a photo of Crystal Palace player, with hashtag #GrazieDamien. That caught much attention and everyone was asking questions because no one knew what was going on. Some British journalists even asked Damien what was going on. But, guess what, he didn’t know.

One of the best situations was commenting on one Tweet, in which a user wrote: Who knew red ‎& yellow went so well together, and their answer was very simple: “AS Roma”.

In a certain period, in Nigeria was, very popular the expression “Importanter”, so the squad included that word in one tweet. Of course, it was very interesting to followers from Nigeria, while the others kept asking: “What’s with grammar?”

Roma also created a unique way of presentation of the new players, they just pasted AS Roma jersey, without much Photoshop. They were different and get an attention. Nobody would expect that kind of post from a professional club, right?

They also created various playlists, which can be found on the club’s website.

IT ISN’T ALWAYS EASY, MANAGEMENT SUPPORT IS NEEDED

Of course, it’s not always easy for Paul: “Every time my phone rings, I’m afraid that someone from management is calling, because of some post…”. If the posts are like the next one (which was released last week), his mobile phone should definitely ring.

Support from the club management is most important here. He would hardly achieve all these if didn’t have the permission for this kind of communication and that he has to wait for several approvals.

In the end, it needs to be highlighted that everything is measured by the club, so they already know how should they behave, how to comment or what could cause such a reaction.

“Clear goals are very important for growth, you don’t need to have a big budget “, concluded Rogers.

Excellent presentation and examples. What makes you different than the others? I hope that you got the inspiration for a new campaign and a new way of communication while reading this article. More articles and examples from the conference are yet to come.


You can add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.


Sports marketing

Case studies and stories about sports marketing. By Marijan Palić, author of best selling marketing book in Croatia and sports marketing expert.

Marijan Palić

Written by

Atomski Marketing Book Author I Marketing manager at AGENCY04 | @experta_hr lecturer | digital / sports marketing expert I Speaker I www.atomskimarketing.com

Sports marketing

Case studies and stories about sports marketing. By Marijan Palić, author of best selling marketing book in Croatia and sports marketing expert.

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