For organizations across nearly all industries, influencer marketing remains a key point of any modern business strategy. Per Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations and 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice. Over half of women made purchases due to influencer posts with Facebook and Instagram being the preferred platforms.
When it comes to sports and fitness, it remains essential that the partnerships athletes accept are authentic to that athlete. The German Olympic Sports Confederation — the Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund, or DOSB — strongly believes in this shift to more authentic influencer marketing practices with their own athletes.
Rather than promote a product, the DOSB chooses to have their athletes take part in influencer campaigns that emphasize their core values, such as diversity and sportsmanship, and promote their individual sports.
Clemens Hühmer, online communications manager for the DOSB, spoke with Front Office Sports about the organization’s approach to influencer marketing.
“We are approaching this topic from two different sides, as not all athletes and all Olympic sports have the same reach on their own channels,” Hühmer said. “First, of course, we use them as our influencers, as they are part of the Olympic team just in order to raise awareness for the Olympic sports and the overall topic of the Olympic games. But at the same time, we are providing the athletes a platform with our channels that already have a reach.”
German sports fans are naturally very tuned into soccer, but generating interest for other Olympic sports proves more of a challenge. This has been amplified by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Using the DOSB’s main channels, the organization gives athletes of smaller sports the opportunity to attract more fans and garner more interest.
“It’s about credibility and authenticity,” Hühmer reiterated. “That’s why we are using the athletes as ambassadors for their sports. There are no better influencers for these sports than the athletes themselves because they have experienced all that these sports have to offer.”
In recent months, the DOSB have found themselves experimenting with different kinds of media and content formats. In addition to covering results of athletes, the DOSB regularly hosts conversations or audience Q&A with athletes on Facebook and YouTube, as well as an official podcast.
Additionally, DOSB athletes have been heavily incorporated on the DOSB’s TikTok with hopes of introducing a younger audience to their respective sports. Still a young platform in Germany and other European countries, the DOSB’s TikTok profile is now up to 26.3K followers.
While the DOSB is not using influencer marketing to influence consumer behavior in a traditional sense, they are utilizing athlete influencers to encourage participation in sport as well as strong moral values. When observing current consumer trends, such as the fact that 60% of teens follow advice from influencers over traditional celebrities, it can be inferred that this strategy will lead to positive development of young German athletes.
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