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  • Peter Clare

Watford FC's digital transformation on the eve of the FA Cup Final

When the Watford team walk on to the Wembley turf for tomorrow's FA Cup Final it will be the culmination of a season in which the club transformed off the field as well as enjoying adventures on it.

The Hornets, for so long deeply intertwined with the local community in Hertfordshire, used the power of digital to become truly global in season 2018-19.

This is a club where the board, manager and players have always engaged with the fans, no matter how famous they might be.

From Sir Elton John handing out Easter eggs to fans in the 1980s, to Graham Taylor who was renowned as ‘one of us’ and now to Troy Deeney who often gives his shirt and boots to fans at the end of games, Watford FC is in touch with its people.

Here at Seven League, we have worked with Watford for the whole of this season, including on how to use their digital channels to maintain the connection with the local community whilst building a fanbase in international markets.

Our work with the club started with a digital audit. This allows us to uncover strengths and areas to improve, and advise on how to make quick progress with the resource available.

Six weeks ago, Watford beat Wolves in one of the greatest FA Cup games Wembley has ever seen. After a content planning brainstorm at Vicarage Road the #ImagineIf campaign was born. It's not just been about building hype for the final but also focuses on the highs and lows of being a Watford fan. It’s refreshing to see a Premier League club be brave enough to own its failures and its successes.

The campaign was a team effort between the club and several agencies.  Seven League’s focus was on creating the #ImagineIf branding, pre-match hype videos and giving fans a platform to tell their stories.

We found five amazing fans and got them to tell their stories, the highs, the lows, and their hopes for the final. These stories were very touching, sometimes emotional and really demonstrate the connection with the club.

In the days building up to tomorrow's FA Cup Final we provided Watford with video content showing the club's journey to the final. The videos outline that it's a competition starting with 736 teams (something international fans may not be aware of) and demonstrates what an achievement it is to get to the final two.

Video is the lifeblood of all social channels. It drives reach and engagement like nothing else. In this monumental week for Watford FC a steady flow of premium video is vital. We created build-up video content like Best Gomes moments and Top 10 FA Cup final moments.

Again, what these videos show is the connection between the club and its fans - something will Hornets fans all over the world, old and new, will see tomorrow. Win or lose. Who knows what the result will be but #ImagineIf ...

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