Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 208
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

How JBL's Partnership With The NBA Helped The Company Take Off

Epple said one of the biggest challenges of the NBA deal was gaining brand trust among players
Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown
Epple said one of the biggest challenges of the NBA deal was gaining brand trust among players
Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown
Epple said one of the biggest challenges of the NBA deal was gaining brand trust among players
Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown

Audio equipment brand JBL could not pass up the chance to get involved with sports and music as a vehicle to further engage and connect with consumers. One of the leagues it took a significant investment in was the NBA, and JBL VP/Consumer Marketing Chris Epple said that the partnership was perfect because of the league's ability to drive both culture and business. Epple, speaking on Day 2 of the Octagon Sports Marketing Symposium, said that the biggest challenge for JBL's partnership with the NBA was convincing players and fans at home that they could trust JBL's brand. "We needed players to believe. We just kept pounding that message 'Hey, we're this great brand. We're this great headphone. We're this great speaker.' And we made sure these players knew who we were." That effort is paying off, as stars like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard have signed deals with the brand. But what has also been key to JBL's success with the NBA has been its ability to use the league's most notable events during the season to connect with consumers and customers at home, Epple said. Some of those events have included NBA Tip-Off, the All-Star Game and the NBA Finals. The NBA relationship has both led to an increase in brand loyalty for JBL and helped build business relationships to drive revenue.

KEEPING IT LIGHT: Two of the initiatives which JBL launched in conjunction with the NBA have been Sounds of the City and Shaq's Fun House. For Sounds of the City, JBL paired influential, up-and-coming and talented musicians with NBA players to create a "signature sound" of their city. Some of the players that participated in the initiative included Kemba Walker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Andre Drummond. According to Epple, a partnership with Shaquille O'Neal, who has dabbled in the world of music, made too much sense not to pursue. JBL rolled out Shaq's Fun House as a music event at both the Super Bowl in Atlanta this past February and Miami Music Week this past March. Epple is bullish on JBL's sports and music opportunities going forward. "Sports and music are not intersecting. They're colliding and they're creating a new space in culture."