If you happen to find any of these eight faces familiar, you need not be surprised. They are Sport Singapore’s pilot line-up of brand ambassadors and sport and fitness influencers comprising national athletes, sport media personalities, volunteers, and health activists.
Having been in the pipeline for a couple of years, the initiative officially commenced on 1 April this year, and has seen the Sport Singapore ambassadors being regularly featured as online storytellers in SportSG’s lifestyle and sports content in its outreach efforts to the community.
The initiative was borne out of Sport Singapore's digital transformation, building on the success of 2015 in which the SEA Games website surpassed the 3.65 million unique visitors mark, with a further 44 million unique visits to the Sport Singapore's YouTube channel. It was envisioned as the tool to take creativity and online engagement to the next level, with efforts to operationalise the initiative intensifying since mid-2016.
Harbans J Singh, Division Head of @Sport said, “We think the answer lies in building a network of diverse people to embody Sport Singapore’s values and influence those around them. Now, the use of brand ambassadors and social media influencers is not a novel concept to us."
"We engaged several celebrity influencers before, especially during the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games period in 2015, and GetActive! Singapore last year. There was a reasonable amount of success, however these influencer activations were very campaign specific and lacked longevity and scalability.”
Also Read: Harbans’ full thought leadership "From Awareness to Advocacy" piece about this Sport Ambassador & Influencer Initiative here
Presenters and show hosts. John Yeong(left), Samantha Low (centre), and Gary Yang are online personalities who have anchored many of myActiveSG's initiatives over the past year on the public front. Photo: Emmanuel Chiang/SportSG
While the use of influencer marketing in the industry as a campaign tactic is nothing new, SportSG believes there are telling differences in its model which allows for more tangible and authentic relationships to be built with their audience whom they wish to engage on a deeper level in the longer run.
This would engender more positive and lasting change than short-term campaigns would. It is also seen as a more sustainable model given SportSG’s number of events and activations across any given year.
“We want this first batch of influencers to convert those around them into true believers of our messages themselves, so that they can, in turn, become influencers in their own right, getting more people to come out to sporting events and to join our programmes,” added Harbans.
“It may sound like a lofty goal, but in this day and age, with ubiquitous access to digital tools and platforms for outreach, we should be asking ourselves: Why not? Good stories have no boundaries, and we shouldn’t be putting up any artificial ones.”
Team Singapore athletes who will feature regularly in SportSG's lifestyle and sports content. These are not limited to teaching sports, but also include lifestyle and entertainment content to inspire better living. From L-R: Laura Tan (Hockey), Shaheed Alam (Tennis), Kerstin Ong (Athletics). Photo: Emmanuel Chiang / SportSG
With this initiative, SportSG becomes the first government agency to venture into developing and managing its own network of brand ambassadors and organic influencers, harnessing on existing potential within the sport ecosystem to engage the masses.
John Yeong, project lead and pilot brand ambassador, shared, “It may be tempting for us to always turn to others whom we think command a huge following to help us achieve short-term targets whenever a campaign is run. But that results in a lack of continuity between campaign periods and the rest of the year.”
“The role of brand familiarity on the impact of word-of-mouth communication has been proven time and again,” Yeong added. “Brand familiarity can only happen when we make regular and consistent associations between our brand and the same group of people who front it over a sustained period, thus allowing relationships with our audiences to be built that would yield more meaningful results.”
Also Read: John’s post on ‘Redefining Influence’ and the thought process behind the Initiative here
Team Nila sport volunteers Jannah Monjiat (left) and Randall Wu. Compelling personalities, impossible to ignore. SportSG will continue to scour its volunteer pool for suitable personalities to join the initiative in the coming years. Photo: Emmanuel Chiang/SportSG
Having started in April this year, the first run of the initiative will end on 31 March 2018, with the network expected to grow and encompass more national athletes and volunteers over the next 2 to 3 year period.
Check out the individual profile features from the links below as we introduce each of our first eight brand ambassadors and sport and fitness influencers!
Gary Yang: Family life in front of the lens
John Yeong: Living better through sport and beyond
Kerstin Ong: Athlete, ambassador, ally
Samantha Low: Committing to the pursuit of better health
Laura Tan: Leaving her comfort zone with a purpose
Shaheed Alam: Inspiring a new generation of high performance athletes
Randall Wu: The importance of taking the first step
Jannah Monjiat: Fronting sports volunteerism in Singapore