Ice hockey is a fast, exciting, and risky game. Just like marketing.
You work as a team. You need to have a gameplan. You experience big wins and tough losses. Emotions often run high. And, if you don’t keep your head up, you might end up in the hospital … okay, maybe marketing isn’t exactly like hockey. But that doesn’t mean the coolest game on ice doesn’t have some important lessons for marketers.
The Lumberjacks have had a great start to our season. As of this writing, we’re 3-0 and sitting at the top of the league standings. Just like our Lexicon sponsor, our success comes from teamwork, professionalism, and creativity. And from playing the game the right way.
So, in honor of the Lumberjacks’ inaugural season, I’m writing this blog to share 3 lessons marketers can learn from the good old hockey game.
Lesson 1: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
That’s a quote from the best player to ever lace up a pair of skates: The Great One himself – Wayne Gretzky.
He should know a thing or two about scoring goals. He scored 894 over the course of his career – the most in NHL history.
The meaning of this quote is deceptively simple: You can’t succeed if you don’t try. But all too often, companies let fear of failure guide their decision making. So instead of taking chances, they play it safe … safe and boring.
If you want to stand out from the competition, you’ve got to do something different.
Take this video we produced for the professional services firm Grant Thornton in Thailand:
Even though the message is quite serious, CEO & Managing Partner Ian Pascoe was willing to deliver it in a creative way. And the economic weatherman was a smash hit, generating thousands of views on LinkedIn.
So, if you’ve got a creative idea, take the shot. Of course, if you need a little help, our video production agency in Thailand is here to set you up with a sweet pass right on the tape.
Which brings us nicely to:
Lesson 2: An assist is just as important as a goal
In hockey, the last two players to touch the puck before the goal scorer are each credited with an assist. And assists and goals are counted the same when it comes to point totals.
Wayne Gretzky’s career assist total is 1,963. Even if he had never scored a goal, he’d still be the NHL’s all-time leading points scorer.
Hockey players understand the importance of setting up their teammates. Business leaders should know this too.
You don’t always need to be the star player in your content. Sometimes, it’s better to be the set-up man. That’s why we encourage all our clients to host podcasts like this one filmed at our podcast studio in Bangkok.
Connexus Global’s Head of People and Culture James Egremont regularly records video interviews with guest experts. The guests get to share their insights, while James positions himself as a knowledgeable, curious, and well-connected business leader.
James gets the assist. The guest scores the goal. Both add to their point totals. Everyone wins.
And again, our video production agency in Bangkok is always happy to assist you.
Podcasts are a great way to get an important message to your audience. But they’re by no means the only way.
Which brings us to:
Lesson 3: Always keep your head up
Hockey is a dangerous game. You always need to be aware of your surroundings and who else is on the ice. And when you have the puck, you’d better have your head up. Because if you don’t, this can happen:
The same is true when it comes to brand storytelling. You need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and you need to stay on top of the latest trends. If you don’t, you risk getting smoked like the guy in the above clip and falling behind the competition.
That’s why Lexicon always includes competitor research and updates on media trends in our monthly reports for retainer clients.
It’s also why our motion graphics agency in Thailand makes animated videos. In a recent survey, 94% of marketers agreed that videos have helped increase user understanding of their product or service. And animated videos in particular are a highly effective way to explain a complex service.
Like we did with this video to explain the process of our website design agency in Bangkok:
Play hard and get some W’s
With the above tips in mind, you can have a hockey player’s approach to the marketing game.
So, keep your stick on the ice, keep your head up, move the puck around, get shots on goal, and you’ll be well on your way to victory. Just like the Lexicon Lumberjacks plan to do in the Siam Hockey League this season.
And if the competition starts playing dirty, you can always drop your gloves and beat ‘em to a pulp … okay, maybe not. Better leave that last part to the hockey players.
About the Author
Justin St-Denis is Director of Digital Storytelling at Lexicon with over 15 years of experience as a writer, strategist and B2B marketing specialist. He is a regular speaker on the topic of social media and storytelling for businesses, as well as a popular guest lecturer at various universities in Thailand. He is also the captain of the Lexicon Lumberjacks.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia. As well as integrated tech solutions, they also help tell clients’ stories through social media, branding and video production.