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FeetandTricks InternationalMembers And Events Platform For The Official Freestyle Football Competition Host In Africa

Feet ‘n’ Tricks International is a Sports and Entertainment Company created by a team of successful partners, including one of Africa’s most decorated footballer, Kanu Nwankwo.  Feet n Tricks had a vision to pioneer and popularize the entertainment sports of freestyle football in Africa, starting with Nigeria.

This is a sports that is gaining huge popularity elsewhere in the world. The visionaries that comprise the Feet n Tricks board felt it's high-time Nigeria and the rest of Africa join in.

Typically, Africa has always lagged behind when it comes to innovative ideas, that takes hold easily in other parts of the world.

Recognizing the presence of huge football talents and potentials that are being wasted away within the less privileged places in Nigeria, Feet n Tricks took upon itself the mission of talent recognition, development and celebration in the sports of freestyle football by formally bringing Nigeria and Africa to the world stage.

Vision Objectives

Vision Objectives

Their first objective was to organize the first ever Nigeria National Freestyle football championship in 2017, and then to sponsor the winner to represent Nigeria in the global final event, the World Super Ball Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

This short-term goal forms part of a bigger multi-year objective, which is to create a long-term platform for freestyle football talent recognition, development and celebration, as well as create and maintain a vibrant freestyle football community in Nigeria and Africa. Quite a noble goal, but they faced many challenges.

The Fundamental Challenge

They faced a primary challenge which was to figure out how to reach out to these raw talents that are widely spread all over different areas within Nigeria. This challenge was not helped by the fact that outside of isolated and uncoordinated leisure time displays of freestyle football skills now and then as an insignificant side attractions, the sports of freestyle football was not even recognized officially anywhere in Nigeria.

So the first big task was to figure out a way of bringing together all these raw talents to compete for huge prices, and an opportunity for an all-paid trip to represent Nigeria on the world stage, for the ultimate winner.

The challenge of bringing the awareness of this tremendous opportunity to the attention of the numerous talented but, usually poor youths spread across slums and under-privileged areas around the country was a difficult one to solve.

Numerous ideas were explored, but one was glaringly clear: Digital channels.

Establishing Primary Objectives From Project Vision And Requirements

Feet n Tricks approached Icelark with this challenge, and together we brainstormed and analysed this and other challenges more thoroughly. In the end we more clearly defined and articulated the challenges into more concrete forms. The result was a three-point strategic project objectives.

  • To successfully organize the first ever freestyle football tournament in Nigeria in time to be able to sponsor the winner to the world event in Prague.
  • To reach out and connect with the best freestyle football talents from all over Nigeria, and bring them together to successfully compete for the ultimate price in the first ever freestyle football tournament in Nigeria.
  • To foster and pioneer a sustainable platform of vibrant and passionate freestyle football community in Nigeria and Africa at large.


Metrics For Success

With these objectives clearly outlined and understood, the two teams set out to deliver on it within a tight schedule.

To add to the challenge, all of these need to happen in some form in time before the world tournament to ensure that Nigeria was duly represented.

Given the tight deadline, we decided on a multi-years roll out of the requirement initiatives to enable us deliver on the short-term goals of bringing together the best talents from all over Nigeria to complete in the first ever freestyle football championship, and be able to pick a winner to represent Nigeria in the upcoming Prague event.

Secondly, to lay the foundation for the long-term goal of building a freestyle football community that would make subsequent event organizations much easier.

The decision was also made to focus solely on Nigeria for the pilot phase, with the future target to roll out similar schemes/initiatives to other parts of Africa, in subsequent phases.

The digital strategy entailed a first phase that includes a digital experience/web platform that is optimized for mobile, integrated with a host of other relevant social media channels.

Research And Analysis Started Off The Digital Strategy Development

Being a pioneer project it was clear to the Icelark team that they were going to be creating a completely new digital experiences, without the benefit of significant inspirations, insights or ideas from Feet n Tricks competitors: There were non!

After the initial workshops and meetings with the Feet n Tricks teams, Icelark started off with a primary customer research, focusing on identifying the primary audiences of the project, including their demographics, lifestyles, habits, preferences, mindsets, potential goals and aspirations, expectations, anything that would be useful in connecting and building a relationship with them.

Through the process we were able to narrow the primary audience down to two key personas: Athlete and Fan.
Athletes comprises the actual freestyle footballers from anywhere within Nigeria as the primary targets of the proposed championship event. Fans includes everyone else that would have the kind of high-energy youth entertainment that the Feet n Tricks brand is promoting: A mixture of youth music, dance and fast-action freestyle football competitiveness.

We then created a journey map that would on-board these two primary audience category unto the Feet n Tricks digital platform. We refined these journey maps iteratively until we validated that they were easy and intuitive for the intended audience, guided by the results of our research into their digital habits, preferences, capabilities and other factors.

This rigorous process ensured a seamless user and conversion experiences on the final Feet n Tricks digital platform.

Aligning the Feet n Tricks objectives with their brand promises (value proposition) to the primary audience, we crafted the content strategy for the platform that would be leveraged across all of the Feet n Tricks digital channels, as well as offline.

Project Objectives, Research And Analysis Guided The Digital Vision Creation

Using the articulated primary project objectives and the result of our research and analysis efforts as a guide, we articulated a clear and concise digital vision statement that, according to one of Feet n Tricks board member, captures/articulated the Feet n Tricks digital dreams perfectly.

The digital vision then becomes the "North Star" that guided and informed the subsequent digital decisions and initiatives.

Digital Strategy Development

Digital Strategy Development

Icelark then developed a step-by-step roadmap that detailed all the project initiatives that would lead to the realization of the Feet n Tricks digital vision. This included all digital projects, along with their priorities, milestones, timelines and expected outcomes.

These digital initiatives cuts across different solution stacks including web, mobile, social, and so on, grouped under different phases, within a short or long-term timelines.

The Digital Solutions Implementations

With the digital roadmap clearly defined and detailed, and with a nod of approval from the excited Feet n Tricks team, the stage was set for the active implementations of the first phase of the digital strategy.

The result was a befitting web presence for the Feet n Tricks brand that included a membership and events management systems for their primary audience, as well as complementary digital social channels.

The Result

The first phase of the digital strategy was completed well ahead of time to meet the deadlines for the first two short-term project objectives: To reach out and bring together the best freestyle footballers in Nigeria, and to host them on a spectacular first ever freestyle football championship in Nigeria and pick a winner to represent Nigeria in the world event.

In fact, the phase was completed just in time for the final launch and media events that massively promoted the Feet n Tricks platform to the public through traditional media outlets: TV, radio, print media, etc, as well as through online social media channels.

The media launch event complemented the web and social media channels. The primary web platform was tested and proved robust enough by being able to handle the huge spike in traffic that followed the media launch without a hitch.

The robust UX and UI implementation on the website ensured that the athletes and fans members registration processes and other interaction experiences were hitch-free and delightful.

The Challenges

Typical of all major digital experience undertaking, this project was not without its challenges.

Apart from the deadline chase to finish on time for both the media launch and the maiden tournament, the other major challenge in the project was the user experience of athlete members, specifically entry registration for event participation. During our research one of our discovery was that the digital channel most of our target demographics were familiar with was mobile, specifically, mobile apps. Most were not sufficiently used to complex website interactions, either through computers or even on mobile phones.

Given that we had determined earlier that a robust mobile app experience was not possible given the tight deadline, we established that the only viable alternative was a website with an excellent mobile web experience (as close to a native mobile app experience as possible). But this was particularly challenging because athletes were expected to upload a demo video of their ball juggling ability as part of their registration process.

Apart from the extreme optimization of the video upload functionality, we placed a limitation of 30 seconds or 50MB to the size of the video that can be uploaded per registration. With this we were able to achieve the video upload experience that was satisfactory enough.

What Next?

In addition to the successful completion of the first phase, thereby achieving the first two short-term objectives, a solid digital foundation for the next phase (has been laid) which includes technical and area of operations expansion.

Technologically, the next phase is to go mobile, opening up the mobile channel through creating mobile apps on all the major mobile platforms, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. These would be seamlessly integrated with the web platform.

Also the scope of the events and area of operations would be expanded to include regional events that would take place to select winning representatives from different regions within Nigeria to compete at the final National event. In addition the event would also be expanded to other African countries.

All these would put further demands on all of the Feet n Tricks digital channels. But given our expertise, you can bet, Icelark would be equal to the tasks.

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