SBD/April 24, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Nets & Barclays Center VP/Marketing Elisa Padilla

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Padilla, seen here at Monday's Bulls-Nets game, fell in love with basketball as a child
One of six children and a self-described "inner city kid" from Newark, Nets and Barclays Center VP/Marketing ELISA PADILLA sharpened her marketing chops with HBO Sports, Nickelodeon, AT&T, the NBA and the Knicks before returning to her hometown in '10. But shortly after arriving at the Nets, their long-anticipated move out of New Jersey had Padilla entrenched in the task of transforming the team's brand, developing the "Hello Brooklyn" campaign after seeing a YouTube video based on the hit song by JAY-Z. She said of the campaign, "I liked it so much because it was just so simple. We wanted to make sure that we came into the borough in a very humble approach, and we wanted the voice to be from within the borough." The Nets' move to Brooklyn has seen success both on and off the court, with the team back in the playoffs for the first time since '07, and in the top five in NBA merchandise sales. Padilla recently spoke with THE DAILY about marketing to fans of all ages and ethnicities, how one goes about creating a superhero from scratch, and a why she cannot get enough of Instagram.

Creating the "BrooklyKnight" mascot...
He's actually a superhero. We didn’t want to just have a mascot in Brooklyn, we wanted to do something that was much cooler, something that was going to have an attitude, something that was cool and hip like the borough we were moving to. So we partnered up with Marvel and told them that we wanted to create something that was going to be a brand ambassador that was relatable to kids and adults. I’ve heard that some people love him, some people hate him, some people are scared of him, some people don’t understand. But on gamedays, you walk the concourse and he cannot go ten feet without being stopped.

Of kids and cultures...
One thing already on our road map is to develop a kids marketing platform, because what I learned at Nickelodeon is that you have to get in front of those kids. My goal is to get our brand in front of the young kids, so that they grow up with the brand affinity for the Nets, and become your season-ticket holders. ... Also, next season we want to launch a Spanish-language website that’s separate from the NBA. Brooklyn is so diverse, and we know that the Hispanic market is growing, but we also know that the Asian market is just as important, and the Russian segment.

Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
Two things: One is selling tickets. I think about driving ticket sales in everything that we do, whether I’m reviewing a tweet or sending out an e-mail, I’m asking, “How is this helping us drive ticket sales?” The second thing is making sure that our brand is consistent. I’m very protective of our brand voice, because I think that it’s one thing to launch a brand, and it’s another to maintain it. We had a history in New Jersey, and a lot of people made the transition to Brooklyn. But sometimes old habits die hard, and sometimes things will come across my desk and I think, “No, no, no. We shouldn’t be doing this.”

Best advice I've ever received...
My parents always told me, “Work hard, and the rewards will come.” I live my life like that, literally that’s what I do every single day. I don’t take my job for granted. I come in every day knowing that I have to earn my chair. I’m one of six children, and my parents drilled two things into my head, and one was education. They said to me, “Anyone can take anything away from you. They can steal your pocketbook, they can steal your lunch, but they can’t steal your education.” And the second thing is that you have to work hard. Growing up, I don’t remember my mom or my dad missing one day of work.

The sports industry needs more of... 
A little bit more diversity. There are so many talented people out there that never make their way into sports organizations and I’m not sure why. I know it’s very, very competitive, but I still sit in meetings where I’m the only woman. And sometimes I’m the only minority, so, two categories. I was once in a meeting at HBO and said to my boss that there needed to be more diversity because we were marketing to Hispanics. And she said to me, “Elisa, that’s what you bring to the table. You look at the world not through the guy’s, the white man’s world, but you bring to the table his wife’s view. And you’re bringing a whole different view.” I see the world in a much different fashion sometimes, and that really helps me with my job.

First media I consume each day... 
Twitter, on my phone. I love it because I get the snippets. Then when I get into my office, if there’s something on Twitter that caught my eye, I’ll read it on my computer. I also listen to "Mike & Mike" on my way to work. GREENY (MIKE GREENBERG) is definitely my favorite because he’s just a diva in his own right, but he knows so much about sports and he’s so smart. What I don’t like about "Mike & Mike" is that sometimes they’ll banter, and it feels scripted.

Apps I'm using the most...
Nike Fit. I just got a Fuel Band 28 days ago, and I am obsessed. It’s really like a one-on-one interaction because it’s all about you. My second app is Instagram, I’m obsessed with that too. There are two others, Diptic is one, the other is Photo Fx. With Twitter, people are writing their opinions. But I'm a very visual person, and with Instagram I'm seeing their visual interpretations of the world.

Best way for me to relax... 
Sitting in the sun. My favorite spot in the entire world is a tiny, tiny little beach on the southwest part of Puerto Rico where my parents live. I usually try and get there a few times a year. And I have to tell you, when I go to sleep at night, I close my eyes and that’s the image that I have in my head.

Favorite music artist...
It's MARC ANTHONY, no contest. He did this duet with TITO BAMBINO, this other Spanish artist, and that’s the latest one that I downloaded.
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