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Visual storytelling

The Football Association of Norway is making full use of the power of strong imagery to develop its brands and engage with the fans.

©Getty Images

The saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is certainly true for the photo of the Norwegian women’s team standing on a mountain as they watch a base jumper take off in his wingsuit. It certainly gave the squad a new perception of ‘on-the-edge performance’ as they discussed similarities in preparation and risk during training camp.

The idea for the photo came out of the rebranding that the Football Association of Norway (NFF) conducted that separated the national teams from the association. This division provided total freedom to develop a strong, distinct brand story for the national teams.

The story focuses on the ruggedness and wild beauty of Norway, which means playing and performing anywhere, in any weather. We believe the teams reach the top not despite the challenges of our country but because of them.

“Preparation plays a key role for any national team,” says Jan Ove Nystuen, head of branding at the NFF. “The extreme nature of base jumping from stunning mountains where preparation is a matter of life and death could be linked to our brand story. So, we decided to combine them by placing the women’s team in the scene itself.

Telling a deeper story
“The squad had a very fruitful discussion with Tom Erik Heimen, the base jumper in question, and saw how even the smallest details are vital. He also told them about the rewards he gets from the risks he takes. We believe these concepts of ruggedness and risk-taking are central to the image of our national teams.”

Capturing strong imagery driven by the brand story has now become everyday practice for the NFF and its picture agency.

“We work very closely together on the brief before camp and the games,” says Nystuen. “Our goal is to take pictures that go beyond just sports action photography, though we love that too! “We want images that tell a deeper story, that trigger an emotional reaction and link to the essence of the team’s brand. These vary from senior to junior and from women’s to men’s football. So, we end up with a wealth of stories we can use and share to engage with the fans.

“Perhaps one of the best signs that this is working is how the players themselves are really quick to share the images. We give them all access to the image bank on their mobiles and we see how they post our pictures on their social media accounts. They give us input and feedback to take forward to the next camp and matches too.”

The NFF truly believes that associations can build closer relationships with the public and the players by focusing on storytelling visuals.

“It’s part of what we do now – the images bring us closer, we are stronger together #sterkeresammen,” says Nystuen.

This article appeared oprginally in UEFA Direct 184