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For Munster Rugby to embrace Social Business online as it has done offline it would need to build a clear strategy. I wrote a few weeks ago about how Munster is the best example of offline social business in Irish sport, this is how I would see it develop online.

In my formula for a social business I express the opinion that people, have to take action because they are intrinsically motivated. This is the hardest and biggest challenge any business/organisation has to overcome to achieve sustained social interaction.

Munster Rugby do not have this issue, they have an on and offline community already in place, their supporters and online chat rooms discussions where fans are craving any piece of news about players and team development. If Munster embraced the online space and decide that all the action was to take place on their terms, it would come down to one thing, CONTENT, CONTENT and CONTENT.

There would be some technical issues and indeed some internal development work needed, but these are small issues. The main component for any online social business is creative content which fuels conversations, Munster already have this in abundance. Add to this an adoring intrinsically motivated fan base and the options are potentially limitless.

Social is about story telling and creative excellence, taking the Munster story, past, present and future and creating content excellence. This has to be in the form of dynamic story telling which has to provoke conversations and even some controversy, tension. Like the story of ROG slagging off English players days before playing a big match in England against Leicester.

The Munster Haka from the 2008 match against the All Blacks, another seminal moment in building the folklore which surrounds Munster Rugby.

Why would Munster adopt a social business strategy, what is the case for change?

  • Increased turnover
  • Increased brand awareness in new markets
  • Increasing their control of the online conversation around their brand that already exists

The creative content and the dynamic stories already exist at Munster Rugby, the existence of the clubs values and principles, of which I spoke in my last Munster blog, has again lightened the work load for the creation of an online social business model.

How Munster would strategise to leverage all these positives is the key. How to set your technology to listen to all the conversations, across all the social platforms, that your creative content generates, how you respond to those conversations is key. Today’s on demand generation need stimulation 24/7 and interaction .

Another key finding for companies as they embrace social is the amount of content that comes from the community, Coca-Cola believe that their online community have far more dynamic stories than the company themselves. By gathering this data thru their online listening tools, they have a rich and diverse distribution of creativity.

To prove this in the Munster case all you have to do is watch the DVD of Alone it Stands, the play which takes place against the back drop of the 1978 Munster win over the All Blacks in Thomond Park. This demonstrates the richness of the dynamic story telling and the type of content which is able to provoke conversation and currently earn Munster a disproportionate following in Ireland and abroad.

Through the advent of social media online platforms people are getting use to an “on demand culture”. We can now access information and entertainment 24/7 as “the new normal” takes a firm grasp of your lives. Business’s have to make the decision to embrace this or ignore it at it’s peril.

As a strong advocate for the social business model, this looks a perfect fit for Munster Rugby. The benefits to the club is long term sustainability. This would mean they could continue to compete at the highest level. Attract the top players and continue to develop great young players.

You might ask where is that different to now for Munster? The shift to the online economy is underway with large numbers of the Y generation now using online in preference to offline. This growth will continue over the coming ten years. Online transactions are already valued in billions of euros, business in Ireland has being slow to embrace this.

Munster can take advantage by being the early adopters in the Irish and UK sports world. Increased income is the life blood of any successful team or brand, Munster Rugby needs to innovate to stay ahead in a changing world.