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How the Houston Rockets Accomplished Their Brand Mission on Social using Slate

The Houston Rockets organization entered the 2019-20 NBA season with one mission: to win the title. The Rockets social and design teams had a mission also: To convey brand authenticity and consistency across all fan touchpoints around a unified theme.

To accomplish this, they built a season-long campaign centered on the tagline “One Mission”.

“The One Mission campaign celebrates Houston’s connection with NASA and space exploration while at the same time sending a message to the NBA world and our fans that we have ‘One Mission’, and that’s to bring home a championship,” said Hiren Joshi, Sr. Digital Communications Coordinator at the Houston Rockets.

The theme and design work took an offseason to conceive and build. After multiple iterations and internal collaboration, Senior Creative Director Jose Lopez landed on a look that the entire organization was proud to embrace. The clever tagline is backed up by sleek creative featuring imagery of galaxies, lens flares, shiny metal, and a unique space-themed font.

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One Goal. #OneMission 🚀

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With the creative built and approved, the responsibility of incorporating the “One Mission” theme across all Rockets social channels fell to Joshi and Steven Goldfried, Director of Digital Content Strategy. The challenge was that some of their most important and fastest growing channels, like Instagram Stories and Snap, were the hardest to brand consistently.

By nature, these ephemeral platforms are the most time sensitive with content typically captured and posted straight from a phone. The Rockets, like many social teams, were stuck having to use the stock fonts and overlays native to the social apps in order to post content in real-time.

“We were looking for ways to maintain brand consistency across social media, especially on Instagram Stories and Snap. We did not want to use their generic fonts and overlays, but also wanted to ensure our content remained timely and felt native to the platforms,” said Goldfried.

To try solving this, the Rockets resolved to send media to someone on a computer to resize, edit and overlay graphics before sending it back to Joshi to post on social. The extra time, resource and hassle was deemed a necessary evil to stay on brand and make the most of the “One Mission” campaign across platforms.

Even still, in the end, Joshi and Goldfried knew that oftentimes they would have to settle for stock fonts and assets in Snap and IG for the most time sensitive content.

That was, until they discovered Slate.

“Slate allowed us to seamlessly apply our brand creative to all of our social content, from anywhere. The ability to use our own custom stickers, filters, branded text and colors while maintaining consistency across our team has been huge,” said Joshi.

Slate allowed us to seamlessly apply our brand creative to all of our social content, from anywhere. The ability to use our own custom stickers, filters, branded text and colors while maintaining consistency across our team has been huge.
— Hiren Joshi, Sr. Digital Communications Coordinator, Houston Rockets

Joshi worked with the Rockets designers before the season to fill their custom Slate app with “One Mission” filters, graphics and fonts that are on brand, yet flexible enough to be used in many different ways by the social team throughout the season. The team’s social editors now have the tools they need to create a wide array of social content, all within the guidelines set by Lopez and the design team.

Slate has not only helped Joshi and the Rockets maintain consistency and branding across channels, it has also sped up their workflows and saved their team valuable time and resources.

“It is a one stop shop for us. We are able to create everything we need right from our phones, and that’s essential in today’s social media world. Speed and timeliness is everything. We have been able to totally eliminate using a computer to add creative to content.”

The Rockets started off using Slate exclusively for Stories and Snap content. But Joshi quickly realized that Slate could also change the way they created and posted content across all of their social channels.

“We used to abandon adding watermarks to our videos during peak times like gamedays, because we just couldn’t sacrifice the time it took to send everything back and forth to add logos. Slate has made it easy to resize videos and add logo bugs to our video content,” stated Joshi.

Now the Rockets use the tool daily to add branding and speed up posting workflows to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as Stories. In fact, Joshi approximates that more than half of all the Rockets posts to social media in the 2019-20 season have been created through Slate, with that percentage only increasing.

Slate has helped the Rockets level-up their social content and send their “One Mission” brand campaign to the moon. But the benefits of Slate did not stop there.

“From a corporate sponsorship standpoint, it has helped immensely. Initially we thought of Slate as an Instagram Story and Snap add-on that would help us elevate our look on those platforms,” stated Joshi.

“But along with that, it has now become a revenue generating opportunity for us in its ability to quickly integrate sponsors to real-time content. We now use Slate to execute corporate sponsorships every game with branded filters, frames, and stickers.”

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#PhotoOfTheGame | @rokitofficial

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The results from using Slate have been palpable.

The Rockets have seen a +100% year-over-year increase on their Stories impressions this season. While that can’t all be attributed to Slate alone, it further underscores the importance of branding on what is quickly becoming the most-viewed social platform for any brand.

“We have also seen a noticeable increase in players sharing our social content, followers screenshotting our IG and Snap stories, and an influx of positive feedback from fans, partners, and stakeholders praising what we are doing,” said Joshi.

We have also seen a noticeable increase in players sharing our social content, followers screenshotting our IG and Snap stories, and an influx of positive feedback from fans, partners, and stakeholders praising what we are doing.
— Hiren Joshi, Sr. Digital Communications Coordinator, Houston Rockets

But one of the biggest benefits: Reshaping the workflow for the Rockets social team to be more streamlined, efficient and produce a consistent output.

“If I had to guess, I would say our time to create social content has been cut in half using Slate. But I think more than time saved it has created a form of consistency and workflow. We all are comfortable now with how it works and the creative freedom of each of our users has produced some great content on a nightly basis,” said Joshi.

Using Slate has helped the Rockets bring their creative to life across all their social channels all while saving time and resources, and driving value for the organization and fans. Mission accomplished.

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