Written by Richard Kenyon – Director of Marketing, Communications and International Relations
Simply take a look at the flags behind the goal on the Sir Philip Carter Park stand in Goodison Park to understand how global our fan base is.
Supporters from all over the world – including Brazil – come to visit us. Some of these flags were donated by those fans who were able to watch the matches and others were gifts that were sent to us.
Today, in the global pandemic, they have taken on a deeper meaning because our fans around the world cannot travel to watch our matches.
Although these flags represent different parts of our global fanbase, they also remind our players that we are a global family and that at any point in the game, there are millions of fans, from all over the planet, glued to most of them. Several screens to encourage them to continue.
You might have seen the news about our international growth plans here at MKT Esportivo, right?
Building this international strategy started two years ago and it puts at its core its values such as long-term relationships, sustainability, and basically, two-way communication with our fans.
Our strategy is built on six pillars:
1) Fan base growth
2) Strategic partnerships
3) Brand and business development
4) Launching an international academy
5) Pre-season tour plans for the men’s, women’s and U-23’s main teams
6) Continuous expansion in retail
We think the best way to interact with audiences in North and South America would be through a visit and we had a plan to visit America. However, with the arrival of the pandemic, we have had to delay it for some time, but despite this, our will remains immense and we are keen to put the plan into action once it becomes safe to implement it.
In this pandemic period, we ended up digging into our digital channels and looking for ways to improve the forms of interaction with our supporters around the world, including Brazil there.
One of the procedures we developed was with Alan.
I was pleased to note that he has become a favorite of our fans. When I say fans, I mean locals, English, closest to Goodison Park, but I also mention international fans all over the world.
While developing these procedures, we note his Excellency, Alan, to participate in the interview sessions presented to members of the Everton FCB Brazilian Football Club.
On our part, as a club, it was great to witness the interaction generated between the fans and the players.
Among the various questions, ranging from his situation to everyday life in the UK to what he loves most as an Everton player, Alan appreciated the experience and was delighted to discover the support he and Everton have in Brazil.
The thing about connecting the player to his fans via Everton is nothing new.
Last year, right after football was suspended due to the pandemic, we and Richarlison did a job with Bruno, the Brazilian who was here in town.
Bruno had saved the money for a few years for a trip in which one of his prime destinations was for someone to come to our historic stadium to see the beloved Blues. But the pandemic forced him to remain in quarantine for 33 days, and faced with such great evidence of love – something that inspires us very much – we invited Richarlison to make a surprise call.
By the way, Bruno described the call as one of the best things that happened in his life.
Here at Everton, we feel it’s important for our fans and our players to have a strong bond – we, the Everton family – and creating moments between these two is the key to developing this relationship.
Our goal is to host many events like this in the future and to explore new and unprecedented ways to use our digital channels so that we can reach all of our international supporters wherever they are.
It’s very fun and satisfying to see the work of sharing reflected in feedback from supporters. This year, for example, the results of our fan survey in the Premier League were the best in 25 years of an official poll.
Our scores in crowd engagement showed 93% of their satisfaction with the work we develop in this area. This result is 21% better than the Premier League average.
84% of fans also said they are happy with the way we have listened to our fans, which is another indicator in which we have surpassed the Premier League average score (30%).
Although this research was limited to the UK, we apply exactly the same approach to engaging our world. It’s not just about communicating with fans, but communicating with fans, and most importantly, listening.
That is why we are proud to work with locals in the Americas to support us, through digital and media engagement with fans in Brazil.
We have a network of people located in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and also in other Latin American countries, and we are committed to building meaningful relationships with our fans around the world. This means developing our knowledge and understanding of our fans, where they are and what is important to them so that we can ensure credibility in our relationships.
You are reading this, please follow us on our Portuguese channels on social media. Please, in addition to following, interact with us! Tell us what you want to see. We are currently very happy with the engagement numbers we have gotten so far, and it is his pride, passion and contribution that make Everton the Premier League club the most engaged on Twitter.
This sharing work has also allowed us to attract new business relationships in South America and this makes us eager to explore new partnerships in Brazil.
Everton, in addition to the Premier League fans, provides the perfect platform for any organization that wants to reach the Brazilian public or make the world understand more about its brand.
In February, for example, we held our first exhibition in Spanish. The event attracted more than a million viewers through our social media channels, in addition to attracting millions of posts with our content on social media as we beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield.
To host the event, we partnered with Cracks Colombia, one of the biggest Latin American football profiles on social media. In this way, we became the first soccer team in the world to use TikTok’s live geo broadcast focusing on a region, allowing more football fans, Latin Americans who did not participate with us on match day, to be able to stand a chance.
The result was a 9% increase in our Colombian followers on TikTok and over 7.3 million video views on the platform. In addition to the numbers, it was all about calling for us!
At this online event, we were proud to announce that “Bogota Blues” had become the first officially affiliated Colombian fan club. Member Alejandro Bedoya Vannin was invited to participate and had the opportunity to speak with his hero, James Rodriguez.
What we’re interested in is hearing what leads you to gain this affiliation with the club and what it means to be an Everton fan!
We are looking to develop several other events such as Watch-Along across South America and Latin America. And as we evolve, we hope you will join us. We intend to organize an event focused on Brazil later this year, therefore, follow our channels for more information.
In addition, the official fan club has been operating at Everton FC Brasil since 2007. We are glad that we have developed a strong relationship with them over the years and if you would like to create your own fan club please contact us by sharing our fan club, whose details you will find. And his information on our website.
Earlier this month, we launched our new online platform Everton International Academy, which brings together the new International Football Schools Program (EISS) and the International Academy Partnership Program (EIAAP).
It is the start of a series of soccer camps in 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States that will take place over the next four months. This project, in fact, is one that we want to expand throughout the Americas.
Our football stadiums follow the Everton International Academy (EIAAP) partnership program, which already has many members, including Columbus United (Ohio, USA) and Scholes Academy (Boca Raton, Florida, USA), Everton Vina Dell Mar (Chile) as well as clubs in Australia and Ireland.
We designed the International Academy Partnership Program initiative to bring something unique to clubs all over the world. We’re not there simply to mark Everton and tell the club what to do. We strive to work closely with clubs at all levels so that we can help them achieve their goals.
Affiliates not only gain the best coaching knowledge from the renowned Everton Academy, but also support best sporting and business practices to improve sustainability and help each club grow.
We have had some great results so far and once travel restrictions are lifted, our coaches will visit the clubs in person and these partner clubs will also travel to USM Finch Farm’s state-of-the-art training center in the UK for training periods and sessions.
Soon, we are planning to announce new EIAAP members and look forward to working with clubs in South America and Latin America as well.
As part of our broader strategy, we have developed an international division in the club. Hence, we strive to bring together the best people in the fields of Marketing, Communications, Digital and Business.
Although they are mostly located in Liverpool, they will all work with prominent consultants when we open our first international office in Miami, Florida, USA.
We are deeply committed to developing our presence and building meaningful relationships in the Americas. Especially in Brazil, which is very important for us! We are excited and hope you will be with us on our future journey.