Trends

August 30th, 2012

Kobe Bryant’s Incredible Facebook Campaign

Kobe Bryant knows a little bit about putting up big numbers fast. At age 34, he’s already 5th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Turns out he puts up big numbers fast on social media, too.

In the past two months, Kobe’s official Facebook fan page has racked up more than 13.5 million new likes. He had about 316,000 likes in early July.

The catalyst for that big boost? Kobe’s insightful Facebook updates during the Olympics.

From London, Kobe recapped Team USA games with eloquence and passion, posted dozens of behind-the-scenes photos, and even shared a link to a thought-provoking sports psychology piece.

The updates probably weren’t part of an actual marketing campaign, but I have to imagine that once Kobe started engaging with his fans, his marketing team pushed him to keep it up.

Kobe’s Facebook stardom won’t just give him extra leverage when he returns to Los Angeles and negotiates that next contract with Nike; it’s also transforming his overall brand for the better.

For the past decade, Kobe has been lazily hated by most NBA fans, mostly because his never-ending, vicious pursuit of excellence epitomizes his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, who have had a winning record in 31 of the last 34 seasons.

He’s a huge star, but not as huge of a star as you’d expect considering his success. Most fans outside of LA are reticent to wear Kobe’s jersey.

It’s pretty hard to hate Kobe after spending the Olympics with him; in each status update, his devotion and determination  the two qualities fans love most in players— shine through. This passage from his closing Olympic thoughts is particularly incredible:

The true beauty of the Olympics, however, is happening now and will continue up until opening ceremonies in Rio 2016. The beauty I’m referring to is the beauty of determination, grit, will, work, pain, sacrifice, etc. For those who came up short in these games, what will they change to get on top in Rio? For those who won Gold, what will they use to keep their motivation up to repeat as the world’s best?

[Full disclosure: As a Knicks fan, I had been conditioned to hate Kobe; now, I’m a full-on Kobe fan. I imagine many of his 13.6 million other new fans feel the same way.]

Any time a brand launches a campaign that truly transforms brand perception, you have to take notice.

Kobe’s Facebook success highlights the power of honing in on your core, most attractive qualities, and then creating content that shows off those qualities to the world.

It may have taken 16 years, but Kobe has finally showed the world why they should love him. Just goes to show that it’s never too late to let social content reinvent your brand.


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