The appointment of Giuseppe Marotta, a former successful Juventus Turin executive, probably has the whole club of Inter Milan buzzing. The team around cult hero Mauro Icardi, managed by Luciano Spaletti, currently sit third in the Serie A. Signings such as Stefan de Vrij or Radja Nainggolan might be an indicator that Inter is once again close to rival the mighty Juve. While crashing out of the Champions League due to a draw with PSV hasn’t helped their cause, Inter do set the ball rolling when it comes to the expansion of commercial commitment and digital exposure.
TikTok is a popular app and clubs realise that, too
As Inter president Steven Zhang has put it when he referred to Marotta’s engagement:
This is an important change for the Club in line with our objective of becoming a winning football club and a successful company. As Inter, we want to win, entertain, inspire and connect people through football.
So not all of the club’s development is visible on the football field. Some of it rather takes place far from it. Inter have broken new grounds as they’ve created their very own account on the Chinese video portal TikTok. TikTok, better known as Douyin in China, is the heir to the popular app Musical.ly. A mostly young audience use this Social Media platform to create playback videos. TikTok is not only the biggest short video platform in China but was also the most downloaded app in the App Store in the first quarter of 2018. Today it has more than 500 million monthly users worldwide.
Now the Italian club want to strengthen their visibility in that very Social app, which offers exposure in 150 markets in the world – as it is available in 75 languages. Inter will use TikTok to offer fans and those who they’d like to become fans exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes material, special goal celebrations, match highlights, archive footage or some very special fan choreographies. Futhermore, there will be specific messages from stars of the team. Alessandro Antonello, who is FC Internazionale Milano’s CEO for Corporate, as Marotta is focused on the sports management, explains:
After opening a Douyin account focusing on the Chinese market a few months ago, we are happy to now have an international presence on TikTok, a platform that caters to a very young audience. This marks a new step which will help us to further expand our fanbase globally. It is a continuation of the path we’ve taken through Inter Media House as we look to create and share digital content relevant in various marketing contexts and to different age groups.
TikTok’s partnership manager for Italy, Normanno Pisani, thinks TikTok is just the right channel to connect with a new kind of fan, internationalised and Social Media-loving:
As one of the biggest and most-loved football teams in the world, we’re excited to welcome Inter on to our platform. TikTok provides a great opportunity for Inter to connect with its millions of fans across the globe and we’re excited to follow all of the action.
The fact one can read those news in Italian, English, Japanese and Chinese shows how eager Inter Milan are to grow their global audience. Apart from those supporters based in Italy there have always been quite a lot foreign fans. So the club continues to live up to it’s meaningful name.
Relationships with Asian companies
It’s probably no surprise that Inter have close relationships to Asia as their chairman Zhang originates from China. The club has announced LETOU as their first online gaming partner from Asia, based on the Philippines, back in August. Millions of fans in Asia will be targeted with that partnership. Beside engagements such as this, Inter have just had the success of having their academy in Hong Kong voted for Best Youth Academy as part of the city’s ‘Most Valuable Companies’.
Now Steven Zhang only turns 27 this month. So he will know what a younger, tech-savvy and mediatised generation of users and fans who spend a great amount of time everyday in apps, and on Social Media in particular, expects from clubs or rather brands in football business. The combination of exclusivity and multi-media entertainment on the emergent and ever so well used app TikTok is certainly a step in the right direction to interact with fans abroad and at home. For the very young fans will rather turn to YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and what have you to get in touch with their team of bond – or choice. Other clubs could and should follow Inter Milan’s example to take advantage of TikTok’s rise.
New digital channels provide any football club with various opportunities. Time to explore them all, so a football brand will be made accessible and enjoyable, tailored really for any kind of fan group or audience in just the fitting manner.