The Drum's Cameron Clarke heads to the Etihad Stadium to catch up with Manchester City’s head of marketing, Julian Pate, and head of digital, Richard Ayres, who explain how they are busy establishing the club as an entertainment brand to rival Disney and Red Bull, rather than just another football team, and the perilous task of growing the club’s fanbase without alienating loyal local fans.
As Ayres says: “You would hope that we are going to grow significantly in terms of our fanbase. But you’ve got to grow in the right way. Rather than taking our brand and trying to dilute it around the world, it’s more an approach of bringing the world in towards the experience that’s here.”
How the club attempts to do that will become clear over the next year. “It really does feel like 2011 has been getting some strategy in place and trying some stuff," Ayres says. “2012 is the one where we really start building it, and start rolling out the products and engaging the fans.”