EXCLUSIVE: Talking Arsenal around the world

September 12, 2016

In modern football a handful of clubs have grown so large that they have turned into global brands in their own right. More people around the world are watching European teams play, and are looking to engage with their favourite clubs, from markets far and wide.

Mark Gonnella is the communications director at Arsenal, and is tasked with growing Arsenal’s world, by speaking to more fans in more and more relevant ways.

The key to that is localisation.

“It’s about tailoring what you’re doing to local populations where you can.” said Gonnella. “We do a lot of work to understand the social dimensions of one country vs. another, the special holidays they may celebrate, and create packaged content for those countries so that we can actually target those fans, in let’s say Indonesia, or China, so that we are talking to them directly through Arsenal.”

“We’ve identified over the last few years that our media operation, is basically driving the platform for us to take the name of this great football club around the world. Over the last five to six years we’ve had significant investment, new people come in, we’ve moved rapidly with the evolving channels of digital and social media, to make sure we are reaching our fans wherever they may be in the world.”

Another important element of the club’s media strategy is understanding its audience and where they consume their content.


“We’ve jumped onto Snapchat in the course of the last year, we know that’s a great way to talk to the younger population around the world, especially in Europe.” said Gonnella.

“That’s us recognising where people are. For us it’s about understanding where our audience is, and find a way to reach them. Don’t go channel first, know where your people are and what they want, and then finding ways to deliver that.”

“Our fans will dictate where they want to be. We’re seeing a proliferation of channels. No doubt someone much younger and much smarter than me will come up with the new way for the next generation of Arsenal fans to follow the club they love. We’ll be there, and if we can get there first it would be fantastic. But we will certainly be watching it, seeing where our fans are, and then reacting to that, and make things they want to read, see, watch and listen to, wherever they may be around the world.”

As the era of ‘global clubs’ continues, the biggest clubs, like Arsenal, will continue to reach new markets. The fight will be who can talk to them first, and who can talk to them in the most authentic way possible.

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