Football Club, Fans-Supporters, and Brand Engagement (part two)

Well actually it should have been titled : ‘brands and football’ because I’ve mentioned some of well known brands in football industry. Part one was posted more than 2 years ago, at January 13, 2012. The first part was telling you about how fanaticism in football that can drive football fans (or should I call consumers) to purchase and own items related to their hobby, playing football or futsal (an indoor football games played on flat floored pitch or synthetic grass pitch in somewhat net cage preventing ball not to went out), which so very popular here in Indonesia.

I’m an Indonesian. As an addition to my identity, I’m a big Liverpool FC  fan.

Me in LFC home 2006/2008 long sleeve shirt
Me in LFC home 2006/2007 long sleeve shirt (UEFA Champions League Final 2007 edition)

A fan. Fanatic. Somehow different with what so called football supporters. They support football clubs. More than one. While (in my own terms and understanding), a football fan only support fanatically one club. Like me, only supporting Liverpool FC. Other than this club’s jersey, I won’t wear any. So, you won’t find me wearing blue Chelsea shirt, or yellow-black Dortmund’s jersey, or a nasty red MUFC shirt. Ever. It’s just Liverpool FC jerseys.

So what’s with the brand engagement?

Actually the name Liverpool FC itself is a brand. A global brand. A known brand, the same as the club’s name I’ve mentioned before. A brand that attracts many of it’s lovers, adorers – supporters, fans to engage themselves into the club. Willing to spend hundreds thousands or even millions Rupiah for club’s replica jersey and merchandises all over the world. Willing to come to fans club base to watch and celebrate the game together, along with other fans and supporters. Not in the stadium, but in anyplace that can instantly or regularly transformed into a good ‘cinema’, playing live games. As happened in a city called Bekasi, West Java. In this area, there’s a place called Alibaba Futsal (a place where football lovers can rent an indoor futsal pitch hourly) which almost at every Liverpool FC match, fans and supporters gather here to celebrate the game. Run by a local fan base @BigReds_Bekasi. Celebrate?

Here, let me show you…

Celebrating LFC's goals
Set up flares-smoke bombs in celebrating LFC’s goals
Alibaba Futsal - Bekasi
Alibaba Futsal – Bekasi

Here, let me tell you..

At last season, where Liverpool FC almost earned their 19th English Premier League Cup, one of their best season so far, despite no cup nor title earned, the spectators at big match can be thousands. Yes, thousands of Liverpool fans and supporters gather around from Bekasi and it’s surroundings to watch the game together. Just like LFC vs. MUFC, or Arsenal (both games, home and away), the spectators are more than a thousands. They’re not just sit or stand watching the game, they shout and sing during the match. They call themselves Kopites, or Wools. Not Liverpudlians, since the term are meant only to people from Liverpool city. Even Everton FC fans (football club which also originate from Liverpool, only years older than LFC),  who called themselves Evertonians, they also deserved to be called Liverpudlians. Kopites are supporters of The Kop, the other name of Liverpool FC. While Wools are supporters of LFC from outside of Liverpool, and that include these supporters and fans from Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia.

Celebrating every goal like crazy. Yelling, shouting, jumping, hugging each others, lighting up flares and smoke bombs, waving flags and banners. It’s literally-truly a party 🙂

Ah, club merchandise!

LFC Warrior Corner - Sports Station
LFC Warrior Corner – Sports Station

Each Liverpool’s Warrior replica jersey worth about Rp 799.000,- and other stuffs sold at each club merchandise corner. If you ask me, what do you buy? The brand or the commodities-the items? Off course, brand is the reason for me, and other fans whom bought the goods. We bought the goods because there’s Liverpool FC name, crest, and other club’s identity there, more than anything. We bought the goods due to emotional reason rather than logical reason. Driven by subconscious mind.

More than the kit supplier, Warriors Sports (which next season will be replaced by it’s sister company, New Balance for another lucrative deal, a record for the club since Warrior took over from Adidas at 2012). Details can be found here and here. And not forgetting another brand, from Indonesia’s largest airways, Garuda Indonesia, that have been gaining Liverpool FC’s sponsorship – partnership since 2013. This original Indonesian brand are printed on Liverpool FC training kits, walk out jackets, and other apparels.

The way supporters show their supports to the club can be shown by their will to pay for each merchandise, bound themselves to the club, wear it proudly as their another identity. Not just club’s crest, but also it’s  main sponsor, Standard Chartered bank and Warrior sports are displayed anywhere-everywhere. Just count how many impressions are there created, uplifting the awareness of each brand showed. Before Warrior Sports took over, I personally do not aware of this brand. Through Liverpool FC, this brand is acknowledged all over the world, easily. Snap! Just like that. Must admit, Adidas designers had created better design than Warriors’ did. Rather dull, I must say. Perhaps right now, Liverpool fans are depending on New Balance’s designers to have a better (and perhaps more ferocious) look on their club’s shirt. And that including me 🙂

From the way I see it, Liverpool has done great these years. They are not just keeping the brand in a good performance in the eye of it’s beholders, but also put a great concern over it’s fans and supporters. They manage their community quite well, with some small personal touches. I still remember how Liverpool FC treat their loyal fans so special back years ago. A die hard fan, from Bandung, West Java, Syamsul Wijaya a.k.a Soel (@soeljeckle) who passed away at June 2013 due to his serious illness caught club’s attention. Pushed by thousands of tweets from Indonesian fans with hashtag #PrayForSoel. Liverpool FC showed their support and care, personally sent a jersey signed by 16 Liverpool players, received by Soel himself. And this really brought me into tears 😥

It’s actually a manifestation of a song, sang by Gerry and The Pacemakers, You’ll Never Walk Alone. This beautiful song is always played before every single match at Anfield Stadium, and sang at every fans gathering at every match, before the game, and right before the game end, precisely at 90th minute. Watch the video here :

There is an example of a brand that taking care of it’s loyal users. In this case, Liverpool FC to their loyal fans. Because football without fans is nothing.

 

Please read also my review on Liverpool Indonesia Tour 2013 here.

 

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