Hockey Franchise Brand Strategy

A major ice-hockey team had launched a long-term branding campaign and wanted to know how well the campaign performed.

They wanted to know:

~ How vital are fan experiences to brand engagement, and how does their brand perform in these areas? How could they make their brand more distinctive?
~ How was the new branding campaign received and how could they improve future executions to build and reinforce mental availability? As an organization, what are they doing well? And, where can they improve? What are opportunities to drive penetration growth for their business?


Hotspex distributed an online experience to a mix of fan groups through the fan database. By leveraging their proprietary human motivation platform and emotional measurement technology, they were able to better understand fan behavior by:

~ Profiling fans across different demographics and lifestyle, as well as emotional need states;
~ Measuring brand performance and the emotions elicited by the franchise, benchmarked against other regional entertainment competitors; and
~ Mapping the attendee customer journey and fan experience beyond the game to uncover growth opportunities.


Hotspex provided clear strategic direction by:

~ Identifying the emotional attributes that drive fandom and purchase intent and how well the sports brand performs on these drivers;
~ Revealing the individual elements of the fan experience and evaluating how the franchise is performing against those elements, with specific recommendations on how to upgrade the overall fan experience; and
~ Uncovering additional ideas for different sub-sets of fan groups to target against other sports franchises to continue to drive penetration for the franchise.


The franchise was given a clear direction on how to provide the best attendee experience at games, ranging from improving the fan journey in the arena, to creating fan communities and superior attendee experiences.

The recommendations provided a very clear outline on how the franchise could deliver against different opportunities over the next several years.

In the spirit of the Laws of Growth, the recommendations outlined new opportunities to drive fan penetration by understanding sub-sets of fan groups and what motivates them.

The organization has just implemented the first phase of the recommendations and have noticed an improvement on key emotional attributes identified from this strategic journey.

Behind The Scenes

Given that sports are so entertaining, the approach required more than a standard survey and therefore involved more gamification to make the user experience entertaining.

Aside from making this a more enjoyable experience for the respondents which reflectied highly on the brand, it also led to more in-context behavioral observation, leading to deeper insights.

In addition to the approach of uncovering the insights, the study was followed by an intensive workshop to develop action plans on how to target different sub-sets of fans with new initiatives in order to outperform other sporting franchises and entertainment options locally.

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