Heidi Browning Pearson, CMO of the NHL, first inspired me to launch the Gen ZEO series after talking with her last year about all the cool ways she was enrolling Gen Z into her brand formula, taking the NHL from the first 100 years into the next 100 years. A lot has happened since that pivotal conversation, including today’s announcement that the NHL officially launched their Power Players council that consists of fans ages 13 to 17. The requirements are to “be open, honest and willing to share your ideas with the NHL and your peers” and “have a passion for hockey.”
This all started when an 11-year-old girl sent a letter to Heidi last year. Sabrina Solomon, who knew every rule in the book, had quite a bit to say about the NHL and Heidi took that ah-ha moment to really look at how to stay relevant and engage younger audiences.
Beyond the Gen Z Power Player council, Heidi has been busy weaving together a number of new innovations into the NHL fan experience. Things like upgrading the Glowing Puck from the ‘90s to become a rich data source of statistics after bulletproofing the technology. Soon new data will fuel broadcast and sport betting leaderboards with real-time insights around puck time, speed of puck, impact of shot and more. And speaking of sports betting, a state-by-state decision, Heidi and her team at the NHL are working to build out an entirely new experience within the arenas.
Heidi didn’t come from a sports background, but she certainly knows data-fueled experiences. The self-proclaimed “digital, tech, social, mobile nerd”, has always been pioneering personalization in her former roles at Pandora and My Space. Her extensive experience in bringing data to life through mobile and social continues to lean in on her strategy and with the new Power Players council by her side, the NHL is in for an incredible future!
But Heidi would also be the first to say that Hockey is truly a team sport and that also applies inside the NHL. Tune in to hear more from Heidi on what she and her extended team are working on, which includes the NHL’s Chief Brand Officer, Chief Content Officer, Head of Social Growth & Legislative, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Communications Officer.
“We all collaborate and align around our objectives and our content, how we measure and how we move forward. We’ve been able to tie so many different parts of the organization together and unite them into a single mission, which is helping us grow our game and grow our marketing out there. The trust in team and teamwork, that’s back to hockey. Marketing is a team sport and that’s what we focus on and how we approach it.”