changing the narrative
when we first began working with the United States Polo Association we observed that it had lost control of its narrative, at least as far as the media was concerned. coverage of the sport itself was for the most part limited to a small cadre of polo media outlets, with occasional general media coverage pertaining to polo focusing on royals, celebrity spotting, champagne, caviar and women’s hats. stories in the general media emphasizing participation and engagement with the sport were practically non-existent.
we proposed a new narrative for the sport: one that illuminated the untold stories of the diverse, passionate polo community in the united states, and amplified the fact that the sport is played by people of all ages, that polo is an incredible workout, both physically and mentally and that young american polo athletes are among the sport’s most talented and promising players.
we re-crafted the message architecture to dispel the misperceptions that polo is an elitist sport followed by a narrow, closed community and that polo players are primarily itinerant foreigners, and consequently improved the overall awareness and positive perception of american polo.
keating worked with the U.S. Polo Association to develop and introduce to the market a new polo narrative emphasizing the sport’s unique qualities, its accessibility and its key personalities, from high-goal professionals to the sport’s future stars to people of all ages and walks of life enjoying the sport recreationally. ongoing execution of the narrative built strong momentum for the sport within the media.
the new narrative
we changed the narrative to better align with USPA’s core objective: to reject elitist perceptions and increase engagement among players and spectators. with the USPA, we built a message on on athleticism and inclusiveness.
the principal vehicle to gain target media interest in polo are authentic stories from within this target audience about playing, loving and benefiting from polo, and the aspects of the sport of polo that drive that affinity.
our stories transformed the way the media views the sport, and consequently, the way the public views polo as well. In addition to continued coverage in equestrian sports media, and coverage of local stories by local media outlets, national outlets that have embraced polo’s new narrative include:
- USA TODAY
- New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
- Sports Illustrated
- Financial Times
- Daily Beast
stats (during two quarters)
- 265 media stories
- 65,000,000+ print, digital and video impressions
- 3/4 national; 1/4 local
- $1,145,637 earned media value
- 70% = new narrative