Curiosity is King: Creating the digital autograph

One of the amazing things about having a 14-month old son is having the opportunity to witness his curiosity at the simple things in life – touching tree bark for the first time, smelling a raw onion or simply banging a cardboard box against the wall.

A lesson can be drawn from his actions and that is the fact that the older we get the less curious we become because there are far less new things for us to discover.

But we can change our fortunes – we can reignite our curiosity.

I try to do that with social media, by constantly seeking new and innovative ways to connect with people in a meaningful way.

This curiosity is what led to the partnership between the CFL and Keek in recent months.

I often sign up to be a beta tester for social platforms. Keek must have been another service I signed up for, because one day in late August I received an e-mail telling me that I could “keek on the go!”

Keek sounded interesting, so I turned to Twitter for some insights how it worked. That’s where I interacted with Justin Kozuch for the first time. He introduced me to Miranda McCurlie from Keek. After learning about the platform directly from Miranda, I realized that Keek could serve as a great way to connect CFL athletes with their fans.

We test drove the idea in mid-September when I was on the road in Calgary. Our first Keek was with CFL social media aficionado, Nik Lewis. Nik gave a simple shout out to the fans in a Keek and we tweeted the video from @CFL. We did a similar Keek later that day with BC Lions defensive back Tad Kornegay – another Twitter superstar – before taking our Keek-show on the road to Moncton for the CFL’s Touchdown Atlantic game.

It was in Moncton where we really started using Keek the way I had envisioned. We started soliciting questions from fans via the League’s Twitter account and posing the questions directly to our players. We would tweet the personalized video response back to the person who asked the question (and to our entire follower base) and they would be able to share the video throughout multiple social networks.

We had created the digital autograph!

As I explained in the Financial Post earlier this month, autographs have become a commodity. Fans are looking for new “can’t buy” experiences and a personalized Keek is one way that we can deliver that to them.

One of my favourite reactions to a personalized Keek was from a fan, @CliffyD, who said he was going to use the opening part of Montreal Alouettes lineman Anwar Stewart’s Keek as his new ring tone. Imagine Stewart saying, “Hey Cliffy D” each time Cliff’s phone rings. Outstanding.

We decided that we were getting enough traction from the test Keeks that we were going to dedicate a content team member – Richard Obrand – to handle Keek’ing during Grey Cup week. Rich would solicit questions from fans and then ask players for answers during media availability each day.

It was a great way for fans following the Grey Cup to get up-to-the-second insights on the two teams.

We also used Keek to showcase exclusive moments, like this Keek that shows confetti raining down onto the lens of an iPhone. We were able to take our fans right into the Grey Cup celebration from field level so that they could experience the raw emotion that the players and their families were feeling.

The lesson learned from this story is that in a day and age where people believe that bigger is better and that you have to spend to succeed, the real winning formula can sometimes be found through curiosity. With little cost to Keek’ing (just a person’s time and effort), the ROI on a simple program like this is limitless if you can provide fans with an experience that drives them towards brand advocacy.

For more on the CFL’s experience with Keek, tune into 49Pixels Live at 8pm EST on Tuesday, December 13th when I join Lindsay Munro and Justin Kozuch to talk about social media in sports.

About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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