Man City marketer: 'We see ourselves as an entertainment brand'
Man City may be aiming to rival the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid for silverware but off the pitch it is brands such as Apple, Disney and Red Bull that the club hopes to emulate.
That is what City's head of marketing, Julian Pate, told The Drum in a wide-ranging interview in which he described the Premier League leaders as "an entertainment brand".
Speaking to The Drum at City's Etihad Stadium, Pate said: "We are very keen that we try to do things first, try to innovate and try to be thought leaders in the football space - but not just in the football space.
"We don't see the competition as just football clubs. We see ourselves as an entertainment brand in many ways.
"It's about trying to put ourselves in that group and asking: What would Disney do in this situation? What would Red Bull do? What would Apple do?"
City's recent marketing initiatives have included putting a fly-on-the-wall camera inside the players' tunnel for fans to watch online, broadcasting supporters' tweets on big screens inside the stadium and adding augmented reality to season tickets.
The club also signed high-profile content deals with YouTube and EA and enlisted celebrity fan Liam Gallagher to record a cover of club anthem 'Blue Moon'.
Marketing activity this year will include the relaunch of City's junior membership scheme.
But all campaigns coming out of Eastlands will have to satisfy the club's new 'brand framework' which Pate has been developing since joining City in April 2011.
This decrees that products or campaigns carrying City's name must be original, reflect the club's sense of community and exude a passion for football.
Pate said the club would now eschew big stunts such as the infamous Carlos Tevez 'Welcome to Manchester' poster in favour of more subtle campaigns.
"If you took the Tevez poster today... it would be way off. It wouldn't fit at all. So that gives you an idea of how the brand has been reformed."
The club is turning this framework into a brand book which will be handed out to potential suppliers this year.
Don't miss thedrum.co.uk tomorrow when we will publish extracts from our interview with City's head of digital, Richard Ayres.
You can read the full interviews with Pate and Ayres in this week's edition of The Drum magazine, out tomorrow.