When ONE Championship first started up in Asia, chairman Chatri Sityodtong (pictured) had one aim, and one aim only: To create superheroes. Speaking at the Adobe Symposium at Marina Bay Sands Singapore, he admits that his first few years in churning out content to be a disaster where “failure and rejection” was an everyday phenomenon.
“Every day it was a failure and rejection because we were just showing off the experience of fighting. It wasn’t until later we really understood the power of storytelling. Storytelling is everything,” he said.
Like many other sports properties, he admits that ONE too, was too focused on showing the greatest fight and mindlessly chasing after numbers. “Of course when I started ONE Championship, I had a look at the numbers. The global sports media industry is massive,” he said.
“In the first three years, all we did was care about numbers and chase numbers, for the sake of numbers, without thinking. That was a big trap,” he said. Today, the conversation has moved much more in the direction of storytelling where quality always triumphs quantity.
“Sometimes, you can get so locked up in analysing numbers that you forget what wins the hearts and minds of people,” Sityodtong said. Since then, ONE has come up with its own formula for success which is values, heroes and stories.
Sityodtong explains that values, given martial arts is predominantly a respectful Asian sport in the region for over 5,000 years, were created to unite people. These are then brought to life by everyday heroes who were projected into the community to inspire and ignite hopes, strength and dreams. And of course, this was done by their stories because as Sityodtong explains, “stories are what [audiences] will never forget and it makes [us] human.”
Right now, Sityodtong and his team have weekly content creation meetings talking about the properties’ values and turning them into stories. He added that if marketers make the mistake of showing just the “actions”, like he did, by simply highlighting the product or service attributes, they will “fail fail fail fail fail the way [he] did.”
“But if somehow you can make it about the hearts and minds through beautiful content, through content that really evokes and moves people, then the numbers will speak for themselves.”
Not just experience for the sake of it
Meanwhile, a study by Adobe also highlighted that a holistic experience is definitely necessary. As such, truly experience driven brands sacrifice short term wins in favor of creating holistic experiences. Overall, organisations that prioritise holistic customer experiences report higher costs, however they enjoy more than twice as much return on ad spend. They also report 80% higher year on-year growth rates, and a doubling of their customer lifetime value.
"The age of the experience driven business is well and truly upon us and it's encouraging to see brands across APAC investing in experiences and customer loyalty," said Scott Rigby, head of digital transformation, Adobe.
"There is a higher cost for these businesses, but the boost to their revenue growth rate, customer lifetime value, and even the happiness of their employees, all mean the investment is worth it. Customers are responding to businesses that are clearly dedicated to providing a unique and customized experience for their entire journey. As customers become more accustomed to this, businesses that don't manage to deliver that experience are likely to be left behind," he added.