Image courtesy of moreuknews.net
There is no doubt that women’s football in Scotland is on the rise. Back in September, the Scottish Women’s National Team made history by qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, a momentous achievement felt right across the country (more of that later).
We have previously established that Twitter is a crucial location for football fan conversation, so we fired up Brandwatch to find out how fans reacted to the women’s team’s success. Looking at conversation on social media, we found compelling reasons for brands to get right behind the Scotland Women’s National Team. This could provide opportunities for positive brand recognition, as well as raising the profile of women’s football further to ensure an even brighter future.
Stories about the women’s team attract conversation on social. The above chart shows posts over time which reference the team. There are three clear spikes in this conversation:
- 30th August: World Cup qualifier against Switzerland.
- 4th September: World Cup qualifier against Albania and subsequent qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup (by far the largest spike in conversation).
- 26th September: News that the Scottish Government is providing funding for the Women’s Team which will enable them to train full time.
There is therefore a clear interest in the team and an appetite for conversation about them, particularly around key events and news stories. As we will see, this conversation is engaged and positive. A comms strategy could be established around such stories and events (e.g. key fixtures) to get people talking even more, enabling any brands involved in the conversation to get a piece of the action and attain positive brand recognition.
REASON 2: Attracting Attention Across the Nation
Normally in a Scottish dataset, we would see online conversation focused predominantly around the large population centres (Central Belt, Aberdeen, Inverness etc.). However, as indicated by the above map, conversation about the Scotland Women’s National Team has a much broader spread, including chat in the Highlands and Islands.
This news unites and inspires people across the nation, providing a fantastic opportunity for any brands that want to reach Scotland and its communities as a whole.
REASON 3: An Emotional, Engaging Story
The story of the Scotland Women’s National Team’s recent success is one of emotional highs and lows. Fans are emotionally engaged with this story, sharing their hope, agony, surprise and excitement over the last couple of months of Scotland’s football journey.
Before the match against Switzerland, there was hope and excitement:
“Hopefully they get the win and will then have one foot in the World Cup”
“My girl and I are so #excited about tonight’s game – looking forward to cheering loud – you all a [sic] huge role models and #Scotland is super proud”
After the match against Switzerland, which resulted in a win but was not enough to get them through to the World Cup at that stage, there was a mix of hope and agony:
“Unlucky @ScotlandNT Women, agonising to come so close. Fantastic win against Switzerland”
“Well done Scotland for the win against Switzerland tonight. We can still do this”
By the time they reached the qualifier against Albania, the hope had intensified to fever pitch:
“Come on 20 mins away from World cup!!!!”
“Come on Scotland Woman’s we are almost there to live the dream”
Conversation after their qualification success was characterised by surprise, celebration and excitement. There were a few detractors, but almost all of the content was emotional, highly engaged and totally positive:
“A Scotland team through to a World Cup! Get in!!!!”
“Buzzing! Scotland WNT qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever!”
Regardless of how the team does at the World Cup, this is a powerful, emotive story, which provides a wellspring of fan emotion and engagement that brands can, if positioned correctly, authentically tap into.
REASON 4: Totally Family-Friendly
Fans see women’s team matches as being really accessible for families. After the Switzerland match, players were praised for interacting with fans, showing that a good relationship with their fanbase has already been established and that there is a solid and supportive community surrounding women’s football in Scotland, particularly encouraging for children:
“A great turnout, a great performance and a great post match engagement from the players with all the young fans, taking selfies and signing autographs for ages after the final whistle. A massive, aspirational encouragement for them to get into the sport”
“Always amazes me how much time the players give to their wee fans at the end of the game. It’s a beautiful thing”
“Family Friendly football. First professional football match I have ever been to where there was zero “f ing” and blinding in the crowd. Woman’s football in Scotland surely has a massive potential marketplace. The product is fantastic”
Scotland Women’s Team matches are affordable, safe and provide role models and inspiration for children. There is a fantastic opportunity here to promote the game to schools, youth organisations and parents as a wonderful day out for the whole family.
REASON 5: Recent Financial & Commercial Boosts
In the last couple of months alone, it was reported that the Scotland Women’s National Team have established a new broadcast deal with BBC Alba and that they have received Scottish Government funding, enabling them to train full-time in the run-up to the World Cup. Both these announcements indicate a growing interest in the game, both from the audience and from official institutions:
“No-one cover’s [sic] women’s football in Scotland better than BBC Alba”
“Great to see this kind of support for women’s football”
“This may be one my favourite things that @scotgov has ever done”
The Scottish Government has received praise for this funding boost on Twitter, which could mean that a brand who provided similar financial support would also get positive recognition on socials. Their support could make it possible for the team to achieve even greater success – if the team can qualify for the World Cup while also juggling working commitments, you have to wonder what can be achieved with the ability to train full-time.
This could be an opportunity for a brand to contribute, practically and directly, to the success of Scottish women’s national football.
REASON 6: Future Commercial Opportunities
It is likely that interest in the Scotland Women’s National Team will be sustained in the coming months as the World Cup campaign develops. In the aftermath of qualification, fans were already anticipating the excitement of the World Cup, with some intending to travel to attend the matches:
“My daughter has just reminded me that I promised to take her & her sister to the WC if #SWNT qualified!”
“My football-mad 5yo daughter was chuffed when we told her she would be able to follow Scotland at a World Cup. “Wow. Will they be in the sticker book?”, was her first question”
“Can’t wait to take my eldest daughter to France and watch Scotland in the World Cup”
Some of these posts include families anticipating attending the matches together, particularly parents and daughters, emphasising the fact that this is seen as a unique family-friendly occasion.
This also indicates that Scotland will have an audience for the Women’s World Cup, providing opportunities for brands to play a part in the action.
INFORMING A PARTNERSHIP STRATEGY
The rise of the Scotland Women’s National Team provides an exciting commercial opportunity, both for the team and for brands.
The key features of the conversation surrounding the team are the broad geographic spread of the conversation and the fact that fans see the game as being particularly family-friendly. A collaboration with the team could therefore be an attractive prospect for brands who wish to target Scotland as a whole, or for those who have a natural affinity with families and young people.
Social media listening can provide valuable insights to inform a brand partnership strategy to help ensure that such a collaboration is as successful as possible. By determining key features of the conversation, such as geographic spread, emotions and key concerns, it can provide guidance on the types of brands with which the team could partner, as well as on the specific comms strategy to be put in place once a partnership is determined.
This research was powered by Brandwatch.