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Becoming a Challenger Brand, 49ers' VP of Strategy & Analytics Moon Javaid at SiS
Becoming a Challenger Brand, 49ers’ VP of Strategy & Analytics, Moon Javaid
Moon Javaid at SisTokyo
Moon Javaid at SisTokyoSiS

Moon Javaid, 49ers’ VP of Strategy & Analytics, joined us at SiS Tokyo and shared his highly relevant views on “Becoming a Challenger Brand”:

To start with, how many people here are familiar with what a Challenger Brand is? All right we've got a couple people but before I jump into a Challenger Brand is I thought I'd tell you a bit about “My Brand”. I'll start with a couple of quotes of my favorite people. Steve Prefontaine, one of the greatest runners of all time: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” and to me we all have gifts here, whether you are an athlete or not we should do our best to make sure we don't sacrifice that gift. Also like this one up here from James Dean “Dream as if you'll live forever; live as if you'll die today”. It allows you to keep an eye to the future and to understand it, you can have those long goals but really appreciate the day itself. And then I will mention “A Crucial Conversation” which is a book that I really love, great book that teaches you how to navigate challenging conversations at the workplace to help get a result you want and last but not least, a picture of me and my wife up there and fill me, it’s super important for me and I'm sure it is to all of you guys as well. From that I'll jump in and talk about what a Challenger Brand is.

Become a Challenger Brand as the 49ers
Become a Challenger Brand as the 49ersSiS

What exactly is the Challenger Brand ? A Challenger Brand is really about having a mindset, it's about being an underdog, it's about doing something bold and it's about challenging things. In the first conversation here today from NTT, they talked about disruptive companies, this is exactly what a challenger brand is. Similar to the company that they listed in this morning we have Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, Wardy Parker, so these companies represent what it is to be a challenge or brand.

Let’s go through “what if”… what if Jeff Bezos just decided to sell books and nothing else? What if Uber didn’t believe in challenging traditional system? And, what if Warby Parker just said that there's already a great way to get glasses. These are very disruptive companies in the same vein, what if the 49ers said we are ok just collecting our checks; right now, you might be thinking the 49ers are a Challenger Brand, in the same breath as Uber, Warby Parker and Amazon?

Hopefully I can walk you through that.

So what comes to mind when I say 49ers? We have the 5-time Super Bowl Champions, the Lombardi trophies, we have Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh and Sourdough Sam...these are the most commonly used terms when thinking about the 49ers. But, what you probably don't think about are the fact that we have an award winning STEAM program, we put 70,000 students a year through the STEAM program. We have an award winning Emmy winning sports show, the largest local high school sports show in the country that we required. We opened up our stadium as “Lead gold certified”. Last week we announced that we've launched a 49ersFIT, which is our gym concept and also opened up three physical therapy centers. We hosted numerous events outside of 49ers games including WrestleMania, Superbowl and we are just a couple weeks for hosting the called “Football National Championship” game.

So how do we get here? How do we get to winning awards, “The Lead Gold Certification” the Stadium Business Award Venue for venue of the year? Being first quartile in NFL revenue, top-3 cross every single revenue bucket, and numerous 40 under 40 winners?

We got there from here, from being 25-league revenue, to build ballots to get a stadium up and running only eight full time employees. So how do we get from here to here? We got there by channeling our inner Challenger Brand. A Challenger Brand pushes its own limits, so I walk through a couple different ways that we do this. One is, we look to maximize ticket revenues. What we've done is we've compared each seat in our stadium to what's going on the secondary market and we look at if it's trading above or below what we have our primary tickets price at, we adjust all data from all secondary sources including SeatGeek, StubHub and Ticketmaster and this allows us to determine the right price. To me, the secondary market is true market info, there's the supply and demand, customers really determine what they’re willing to pay for a ticket, and I want to capture all that value. We also look at when we should send out emails, what day of the week, what time of day, what will lead to the higher sales for us. We push limits on revenue, expanding our revenue pie, so looking past ticketing, broadcast, partnerships, how else can we generate revenue. So I already highlighted 49ersFIT, and a couple sports medicine facilities. And in addition we just launched our virtual assistant. And lastly we look at fan experience, so this year we're able to debut the first real time venue management system in the NFL and I believe in North America. So I'll get to the point where we talk about the executive huddled but I'll walk you through a little bit of our journey to get there.

Why do we address fan feedback? Well there's a couple different reasons, the first is we really want to make the game fun so we understand there is a lot of different competitive ways that you can watch our game, maybe at home on your 4K TV. We have to make sure that's a fun experience for you, and for me that means from the time you leave your home to the time you get back home. In addition, we also want to think about the long term value of that fan so you want to keep those renewal rates high and over the last three years we have had an average 99 % renewal rate for season ticket holders. In order to do this, in 2013 we launched surveys and focus groups, in three years we went from 5000 survey a year to 30,000; we generate reports we can understand at the individual level and aggregate these so that we can develop these visualizations. In addition we met with all the key stakeholders around the organization so not only regenerating this data or meeting with all the different stake holders and letting them know where improvement could be. Lastly, we share the results with our fans so at the end of the year we bring in a fan feedback committee and we show the exact reports that we showed to our ownership team.

With that, we made all these changes, 200 changes since opening Levi's stadium, only six seasons ago. And since then we've already invested millions of dollars enhancing our building. I think that shows how we are willing to commit to really make sure that the fan experience is at its best level. These type of changes could be anything really big, from adding a ring of honor, adding in hall of fame elements and iconography around our stadium, to things that could be small like adding a discount to the ticket holders or watering a parking lot or making sure the better pedestrian control for pedestrian crossing the street or adding streetlights at night when it's a little bit too dark. We were lauded for our efforts in the local papers, so we did the ring of honor reviving that, introducing the first organic food option in the NFL, reducing traffic times, bringing traffic times from the exit to the stadium down from 65 minutes to under 30 minutes to leave our stadium.

After all of that, did we rest? No, Challenger Brands don’t rest. Introducing HappyorNot, and SiS is a great place to talk about it. After generating all of these headlines, after three years of taking our service from 5000 to 30,000 people during two hundred enhancements, my boss, Al Guido, the President of the 49ers said to me, “you know Moon, this is great, I think the surveys are great but I'd like the result sooner", so I said “Okay Al, when would you like them?”. He kind of gave me a look that I could tell he wasn't happy about timings, so I said “Okay Al, maybe I can get it done for you on Monday, I'm really going to have to rearrange some things”. But I could still see he wasn't very happy with me; I was like, “okay Al what do you want? And he said, “I want real time”. And I left that meeting thinking this is going to be impossible, there's no way that we can generate real time fan feedback, but literally that weekend I was traveling at the airport and I saw these HappyorNot kioks, and I thought to myself “maybe this is the way that we could generate real time fan feedback”. So I called HappyorNot the following Monday and said “Hey, have you ever done something at a stadium before?” and they said “no”, and I said “well, would you be interested?" and they said “sure so let's figure out the contract later, just ship me some units over and let me see if they work on Sunday”. So within seven days I had some units in our stadium and we had them asking very simple questions: how is your concession experience today? How is your guest experience? How's your parking experience? Please rate the cleanness of this restroom?... We have over hundred areas of our stadium and if you see where we focused on, over half are concessions. This is really important for me because concessions are important areas for fans, it really drives their satisfaction. There are two areas that are really important: how the leaves your stadium and how they eat. That will really determine how happy a fan is at the end of the day.

"Push your own limits" Moon Javaid
"Push your own limits" Moon JavaidSiS

So, earlier, I addressed why we address fan feedback and here we really layout the problem: 600 points of sale, 50 restrooms, we are bringing thirty five hundred temporary employees that we just staff for those ten days a year. So there's a tremendous amount of challenges that exist in our building and we want to create a seamless experience for every fan. How can we identify where those problems are and HappyorNot is a great tool that helps us do that.

Finally we have generated real time, this is what Al wanted, so what happens is we generate these alerts when 30% of responses in 15 minutes are negative it generates an alert and these alerts send us an email and mobile app alerts. It is sent to the individuals that are responsible for addressing this issue and their goal is to respond in under five minutes or less, and this is truly important as well, because you can have the greatest technology in the world but unless you're able to operationally execute on it won't matter so for us we set these parameters where everything alerted must be addressed in under five minutes.

So what do we actually do with it and what types of changes we actually have? Most of these changes are really simple, really small, a stand didn't have a bartender so they couldn’t serve drinks, a fridge stopped working so the wine got warm; over here on this side you can see the number of changes that we've had this year and this is over four games and we generally addressed about 50 of our HappyorNot alone. Now we have headlines, we featured the New Yorker, so we should be pretty excited, we should celebrate right? No! It's a mindset, so we want to continually relentlessly push to drive further.

Now we can get to the SAP Executive Huddle. The Executive Huddle is a digital boardroom product powered SAP. It allows us to analyze 9 different data streams in real time for us to make decisions to improve fan experience. Here is the Executive Huddle (photo) it’s on a suite on the 50 yard line, I think one the first question people ask me when I say “Hey you have a real time control room, are you in some dark corner of the stadium?” but no, we’re in a nice area based on the 50-yard line. I'll walk you through some of the visualization because I think they're pretty interesting. These are the actual visualization that we put up on our screens that allow us to make decisions, what's important to me is that these visualizations are powerful enough to make decisions in 15 seconds or less. Here you can see our attendance, you can see how it peaks. In addition we are pulling things like error types, so as you scan your mobile tickets you can understand where we do intend to have errors so is this a re-scan the person entering for the wrong game or someone trying to come in with a counterfeit ticket? It helps alert us to any type of those issues. We can also look at F&B, I'll start here in the bottom right at things that are really important for me to understand here, these are bottom ten performing stands in our building. I need to understand where problems are so we can fix them, immediately I can near it down to ten stands and say “Hey these stands aren’t performing that well”. Over here you have what we call our “heart rate” the 15 minute HappyorNot score so you can see if a score starts to deep, you can see there's issues that could be there; so what that means for us is we will drill down to specific stand and say how's the performing, is the performing better or worse than it has historically and then we'll send someone down there to investigate. Also, looking at parking, we tend to have a lot of parking issues as well, people going to wrong slots, people coming in for the wrong game and again counterfeit tickets, so having this tool allows us to identify those problems pretty early and then find someone there to solve them.

Now what's next? I think there are two things. One is winning probability. When I spoke at SiS in Mexico City, I talked about how I really want to win probability to HappyorNot and I don’t think that there’s a team out there that really understands fan sentiment at the exact time that the game is occurring; we do now. You can see there is a high degree of correlation between fans happiness’ scores and how the team is performance, and why is that important for me to know? Because I want to understand why people are getting those brownish button because the other team to score a touchdown or because there's actually an issue for us.

The second piece is just going more along lines of predictive. We talked about this with NTT this morning again, it's going from reactive which is where we were three days late which I thought was pretty good but it wasn't, now we can respond within seconds or minutes so now we're being proactive. But the next levels we need to predict. I'd like to understand, you know, not 5 minutes after we run out of beer or run out of hot dogs. I'd like to predict if we're gonna run out of the running of hot dogs, I'd like to predict if it's a parking lots going to get full, I'd like to predict if staffing is too heavy at one of our whatever entry stands…

And with that I'm done. Thank you!

Pedro Presa from MyCujooGoogle
IOC Member and IOC Athletes Commission Chairwomen, Kirsty CoventrySiS
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