Take a guess: What is 7-foot tall, has orange fur, giant googly eyes and wears Flyers' gear?
Created by Brian Allen of Flyland Designs in 2018, Gritty is the official mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League team. Described by the NHL as the “ultimate Flyers fan,” Gritty’s “talented but feisty” and “loyal but mischievous” attitude has put him in the spotlight for hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike. Having made appearances on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “Saturday Night Live,” and mentioned in articles by BBC News and The Guardian, Gritty has become a nationally recognized figure due to his outrageous behavior and entertaining social media accounts.
So, what does a NHL mascot have to do with associations?
Fabulous social media marketing.
With a Twitter account that has gained over 307,000 followers, Gritty’s social media team must be doing something right. Hilariously simple, yet on-brand social media posts are the driving force behind Gritty’s cult-like following. Turning a feud with the Pittsburgh Penguins into an entertaining Twitter thread, creating pun-filled and sarcastic short videos and collaborating with various celebrities Gritty’s statement “lets get weird, again,” could not have been more accurate.
What can associations learn from Gritty?
That being creative with your marketing strategy is a great way to gain followers, increase engagement and really show your organization’s personality. There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating your social media strategy, as we have seen with Gritty, whose unconventional social personality has been highly successful.
“The primary purpose of content marketing is to establish a connection between the audience and a brand, and not just any connection, but one where the audience has sympathy and empathy for the brand,” writes GoDot Media. “Content has the power to make people feel passionate about the brand. Mainly because a successful content marketing campaign helps them see that they share the same values.”
Take a look at your organization’s mission statement or purpose and values to determine what you would like your online personality to be. Then, take chances. The beauty of being creative is the ability to try new things and be flexible with your marketing. You can’t be afraid to get laughed at — and even if you do, it might work to your advantage.
Social media marketing is so much more than likes, comments and shares. It is a chance to really display who your association is, and creates a more personal connection between your brand and your audience.
Associations who are looking to revamp their social media marketing can take the same outlook as Gritty, and get a little weird.
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Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work with her love of dogs. Taking her large pack of dogs to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.
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