Today marks a new beginning for the opendorse family. The launch of an entirely new platform that enhances the power of athlete-driven sports marketing through social media. We sat down with our CEO, Blake Lawrence, and Head of Product, Abbie Giffin to hear directly from them what this next evolution means for the athlete-driven movement.
Blake Lawrence, CEO
Q: What is the most dramatic element of opendorse’s evolution to the product you released today?
A: We’ve been at this a long time. While so much has changed and our category has evolved, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed – the diverse needs we serve. From a high school football player shooting for a scholarship, to a college athletic director building a best-in-class recruiting effort. From a pro team looking to boost ticket sales and sponsorships, to publishers and advertisers aiming for a larger, more engaged audience… the list goes on. That’s what hasn’t changed.
But there is one thing that has – and that’s the pace of market demands. People see now what’s possible with opendorse and they just want more.
So, when you ask me about the most dramatic element of the new product, it’s our speed to scale. We have to stay ahead of what the market demands – that’s the challenge. We reimagined our ability to be agile and responsive to the needs of our customers and athletes from the ground up.
By re-architecting the foundation, we can develop and deploy new product capabilities faster than ever before, ensuring our partners always have the best solution available.
Q: When it comes to the launch of the new platform, the big question is…why now?
A: Six years ago, many business leaders, and even marketing leaders, didn’t fully comprehend the power of social media. We see a shift in that trend and we believe there’s a ‘level-up’ coming in social media.
Athlete marketing has evolved from a nice-to-have into a must-have for the leading organizations in sports.
Today’s brands and fans expect more from athletes than ever before — creating a need for a scalable solution to help stars at all levels of sports shine on social. The rebuilt opendorse provides the infrastructure that athletes need to succeed, with the simplicity and speed that partners expect.
Q: Give us a picture of the pace of growth happening at opendorse? What do you attribute that to?
A: More athletes have started using opendorse in the last six months than in the first six years combined. This opportunity to help more and more athletes is incredibly rewarding, but we don’t take the task lightly. To ensure athletes are getting the most out of the platform, we’ve invested heavily in partnership growth, adding more than 100 sports properties, publishers, and brands to the opendorse family in the past year.
While it feels as if the category is taking off all on its own; I can’t help but think our partners are leading the way at all levels. We’ve been fortunate to lean on and learn from the leading social media managers and digital directors in sports — I believe their belief in the market has motivated others to get behind the athlete-driven movement.
Q: Say I’m an athlete and I’m not one of the current 7,000 users; and I hear about the new platform. What’s the thing that’s going to make me want to sign up today?
A: Bottomline – opendorse will help you look good. Getting custom content from premium publishers all the way to postgame highlights – We’ll help keep your feed looking fresh. From your first start in high school to your last snap in the pros, we are here to help you say the right things on social so you can keep your focus on the field, not your phone.
The biggest stars in sports trust opendorse to help them maximize the value of social. It takes 30 seconds to sign up and 3 seconds to publish posts that’ll entertain your fans and build your brand.
Q: What is opendorse’s best-kept secret that the entire market should know?
A: More integrations, more often and in a BIG way. We’ve seen and studied every nook and cranny of athlete-driven social media over the past 6+ years and know what marketers want (and athletes need) to maximize the value of player-driven publishing.
The new opendorse is designed to integrate with pretty much every tool in the modern marketer’s tool-belt. We’re actively adding tech to the platform that helps our partners do more in less time, leading to a larger impact on the athlete-fan relationship.
We spent more than a year rebuilding opendorse so it can sit at the center of athlete-marketing for years to come. We are proud to provide our partners with a platform they’ve always dreamed of, allowing athletes to reach levels of success they couldn’t have ever imagined.
Abbie Giffin, Head of Product
Q: Give us a peek behind the scenes. What did the journey look like getting to the new opendorse?
A: It was truly a feedback-driven process that began with in-depth conversations with athletes, partners, and even non-opendorse users.
We set out to understand not only how we can improve the current system, which was based on what we’ve learned over the past 6 years, but how we can build a solution for the future.
The conclusion was a flexible system architecture that – again – puts the athletes at the center. We designed workflows and user experiences that help the people who support athletes interact with them effectively, while the athlete retains full control of their social channels.
In the process, we modernized technology, doubled the size of our engineering team, and kept users a part of the conversation throughout.
Q: Who is the primary beneficiary of this new platform? Why?
A: The athletes. The new platform’s features make athlete on-boarding, managing media, and composing high-quality content for teams extremely efficient. Because all workflows have the end-users in mind, more athletes will benefit from even greater timely, relevant content from their teams.
These powerful tools support what teams and athletes both desire: content published to the athlete’s feed, building the power of their brands.
Q: When you think of ‘what’s possible’ with the new platform, what gets you the most excited?
A: I get excited about how much easier and faster things have gotten…and will get. The speed at which we’re able to provide value to the opendorse user is what keeps me and the team excited.
This foundation allows us to adapt to the rapidly evolving world of athlete-driven social. Our partners can look forward to powerful automation that reduces the friction in their workflows; with the peace of mind that it’s secure and it just works.
Q: What would you say is the most remarkable thing opendorse did in the process of writing this new platform?
A: We went great lengths to be objective about the platform. It was a user-first journey from start to finish. We put all of the user feedback on the table through live sessions throughout the process. That’s what really helped us refine our solutions. Sessions included interviews, testing high-fidelity prototypes, and providing live feedback on our beta product.
Our athletes and partners are some of the most sophisticated marketers on the planet. Their invaluable insight – paired with the opendorse team – produced what the new version is today. I’m just thankful for what we were able to do together. I’m proud of the team and was humbled to be a part of it.
Not to mention that we have so much more to do – so stay tuned.