Soccer Marketing: Golazo

Any number of products try and connect with soccer fans through official partnerships, event activation and commercial spots.  Typically, soccer related marketing is part of a much larger general interest campaign. Based in the Pacific Northwest,  Sports energy drink Golazo bucks that trend by focusing on the game of soccer.  We thought it would be worthwhile to talk to the folks at Golazo about their soccer marketing and their soccer inspired products.  Co-founder Richard Tait was kind enough to share his thoughts about the product and its relationship to the beautiful game.  Mr. Tait started at Microsoft before starting game maker Cranium.  He then started product incubator BoomBoom Brands out of which came Golazo.
Footiebusinesss: What is Golazo and what is the relationship between Golazo and the game of soccer?

Richard Tait: Golazo means super goal in Spanish, and is screamed in stadiums and living rooms all over the world. We saw the opportunity to create a passion brand for soccer with that level of enthusiasm and focus, but most importantly developing beverages that have functionality designed for the pitch and respond to the unique needs of the soccer community. For example, with our first product, Golazo All Natural Sports Energy, we discovered that soccer players were mixing Gatorade and Red Bull to have a boost of energy, but it tasted terrible and the ingredients were scary. We developed Golazo All Natural Sports Energy product with the more health conscious soccer player in mind, all natural, phenomenal Latin infused flavor and industry leading functionality. A true Golazo! http://vimeo.com/23393082

With the introduction of our Golazo All Natural Sports Hydration product once again we turned to the soccer players and fans to be our compass in the development of those products. To make it truly “gulp-able” and provide the functionality that soccer players needed, we crafted the unique combination of all natural hydration plus replenishment, with coconut water providing the needed potassium, all with fantastic flavor. There was nothing like it on the market and in taste tests we beat Gatorade 33 to 1.

Beyond the products, Golazo was an opportunity to create a culture and sense of movement that celebrates the game we love and its passionate fans.

FB: Who is Golazo’s target demographic for its product?  What marketing efforts are you making to reach that demographic?

RT: In the Northwest our customers fall into two categories, soccer enthusiasts who love to watch or play the beautiful game and are involved in the soccer lifestyle and those who are looking for healthier choices than what is offered in the marketplace today. We also have an incredible resonance with the Latino community given their passion for the game and the power of the Golazo name within their culture.

Our marketing has focused exclusively around those customers and their lifestyle, we launched at indoor soccer arenas, provided free products to amateur teams going to their games to show our support, sampled at Sounders and Timbers games to reach the soccer crazy fans in the Northwest, and built up our Facebook following to more than 20,000 fans with many being in far reaches of the world where they have not had the chance to taste the product but recognize the authenticity with which we are approaching the market with.

We also ensured our packaging spoke to our customers, incorporated Latin infused flavors like Mango-Limón, and used sports graphics. I will never forget the day we tested our logo with and without a ball integrated in it. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the ball. The focus group explained that “with the ball in the logo, I know this product is for soccer players and not treating us like the a fifth or sixth sport”. Given this feedback, the ball stayed in.

Golazo also converted a car dealership to be our headquarters. It was important to us to have a three vs. three field in our office. It’s a 28,000 square ft. facility that we have turned into soccer central. During one event, we hosted 1,000 soccer players and fans in our office space celebrating our shared love for the game. http://vimeo.com/19455433

Having that focus in our customer base and in our marketing has generated great business results ensuring we are sold where our core customers want to shop. Beyond the indoor arenas mentioned above, we are currently in more than 800 retailers including Whole Foods, New Seasons, QFC and Fiesta Foods, and available nationwide on Amazon.com http://Amazon.com. In just 250 days, our Golazo All Natural Sports Energy beverage is now the second best-selling energy drink on Amazon Fresh, a top performing energy drink at Pacific Northwest Whole Foods locations, and is selling better than 70 percent of the 460 SKUs at QFC stores in the Seattle/Tacoma area.

The introduction of our Golazo All Natural Sports Hydration beverage will allow us to build on that momentum with current customers, but given that its focus is on all natural hydration, it will broaden our appeal to the fast growing youth soccer movement providing a fantastic opportunity to grow our business.

FB: The Major League Soccer season and World Cup Qualifiers are around the corner.  What efforts will Golazo make to activate around either the league or the national team matches?

RT: There is no question that soccer fever will be building in 2012, and being in the soccer crazy Northwest means we will have some great marketing opportunities and also watch some great soccer! We will certainly focus on specific games to continue our sampling and outreach efforts and host viewing parties for away games, some of the great qualifiers, as well as Euro 2012, and, possibly, the Olympic Games.
These events are great because they provide an opportunity for us to connect with fellow soccer fans in an authentic way. Golazo was inspired by and created for the beautiful game, and most soccer people appreciate that. Our activation efforts have allowed us the privilege of working with The American Outlaws, the filmmakers behind The Jay DeMerit Story, and various MLS supporters groups in the region. As a company (we’re based in Seattle & our products are made in Portland), we are fortunate to be in an area where soccer courses through people’s veins and MLS thrives.  ECS & Timbers Army create such an incredible atmosphere at the stadiums! And we’ve been able to reward Golazo Nation (our faithful Facebook & Twitter fans and followers) with tickets to those games, as well as US National Team games, international friendlies, MLS Cup, and other soccer events. It’s fun, exciting, and rewarding to build a business focused on people who carry the flag of fútbol and are passionate about the game, no matter what club or country they support.

FB; Does Golazo have any formal relationships or partnerships with MLS or its franchises?  If yes, what is the nature of those relationships.  If no, are you exploring entering into such a relationship?

RT: We are certainly huge fans of MLS and the growth of the sport in this country, and support wherever we can. We’re Season Ticket Holders for the Sounders and Timbers, but have no sponsorship deal or anything like that.  While we don’t have a formalized business deal with the teams, we have tried to be supportive whenever possible at the stadium, through our social media, and with their charitable efforts and community outreach.
Beyond that, we’re making an effort to connect with the players on the Sounders & Timbers so that they know about the soccer passion brand in their backyard. Not just because the Golazo All Natural Energy and Hydration products are a great, soccer-specific alternative to what they may be consuming, but also because we want to find ways to collaborate with them on their charitable endeavors. It’s through those efforts that we’ve been able to work with and help raise awareness for great groups like America Scores, Street Soccer Seattle, and Kingdom Hope.

At the soul of our brand as a startup we want to be an advocate for the amateur player, the passionate fan, and groups that have the essence of soccer at their core, and that has been our focus.

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