Golden State Warriors: Creating a slam dunk fan experience

EXPERIENCES

Golden State Warriors: Creating a slam dunk fan experience

An interview with Jen Millet, Chief Marketing Officer for the Golden State Warriors.

Sara Staffaroni

November 10, 2022 | 5 min read

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At Dreamforce 2022, Momentive customer and 2022 NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, and Zander Lurie, CEO of Momentive, sat down for a fireside chat. Jen Millet, CMO of the GSW, shared how her team uses customer feedback to build a state-of-the-art fan experience at Chase Center. 

Zander Lurie: What is the internal culture like at the Golden State Warriors? And how does it help deliver this world-class fan experience? 

Jen Millet: We’re fortunate in that we’re able to feed off the culture that the Warriors basketball team has created, which is around hard work, resilience, and collaboration. It makes all of us on the business side want to rise to the occasion and work as hard as we can as a team to deliver on the fan experience. 

Lurie: What is your approach to providing a world-class fan experience? 

Millet: It starts with ensuring we meet fans’ expectations across all touchpoints, whether they’re coming to a game or purchasing merchandise online. This high standard extends to third parties, too. For example, Fanatics is our partner, and they will tell you we’re probably one of their most challenging clients. Our fans don't know the difference when they’re going online to buy a t-shirt; they think they’re interacting with the Warriors. So we need every company we work with to deliver on that same standard. 

We also want to be a global brand. We know that not all our fans can attend a game at Chase Center. And so we leverage our social channels to extend that reach and create content for fans worldwide. For instance, we’re going to Japan soon, so we launched a Twitter handle solely for Japanese content, so we already have a presence established when we visit. 

Lurie: How are you implementing changes based on what you hear from the fans?

Millet: We are relentless about getting feedback. There’s many ways we do this. Starting at the macro level, we deploy Momentive solutions to gauge the overall marketspace.

We don’t just reach out to Warriors fans; we look at the entire Bay Area. Even if you’re not a Warriors fan, we want to know your thoughts about our brand and how we compare to other teams. And it goes beyond basketball. We collect feedback to understand our market share in entertainment overall. Do people plan on going to Chase Center for a concert or do they prefer dinner and a movie?

To take it a step further, those who do attend an event at Chase Center will receive a post-event survey. We want to know their experience with parking, food, staff, and more. We also started to deploy one-off surveys at strategic touchpoints. For example, if there is a halftime performance, we ask fans how they would rate it. 

We dive into all of this data to gain a better understanding of the fan experience. To the point where our team president, every night, will read the open-text feedback from fans. And some of the feedback isn’t fun to read, but it’s necessary. We aggregate all of this feedback data and identify opportunities to make quick, smart fixes and the critical areas to allocate our resources so we can significantly improve the experience. 

Lurie: Take us back to five years ago when GSW decided to build Chase Center. How did you use fan feedback to develop the fan experience? 

Millet: We were excited about it because many of the fans didn’t realize that we weren’t owners/operators of the Oakland Arena. There were a lot of touchpoints that we couldn’t control on the business side. 

So when it was time to plan and develop the fan experience for Chase Center, we had a lot of feedback collected via surveys that served as our roadmap. 

It’s easy to sit back when you don’t have control of things and say, well, I don’t know why they’re doing it this way. But once you’re in control, you realize things are harder than you thought they would be. So, getting real-time feedback, we can prioritize what we need to tackle. 

Lurie: Once COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed and people could gather in the stadium for the first time, how did you incorporate feedback to ensure you met fans’ expectations while keeping everyone safe?  

Millet: Our priority was ensuring the safety of our fans while keeping them engaged. So, in the beginning, when they couldn’t attend games at Chase Center, we leaned heavily on digital experiences. We brought in video walls, for instance, so fans could watch the games live from the point of view of being in the arena. 

We’re really fortunate to have a partnership with Kaiser Permanente. When we could re-open to the fans, we worked with doctors on safety guidelines and partnered with public health officials and city and state governments to ensure we were taking all health precautions. We wanted to do everything possible to bring our fans back safely. We would hear from our players that they missed them. 

When the city of San Francisco required all Chase Center visitors to be vaccinated, in some ways, it took the pressure off us. From our fan feedback, it was what the fans wanted. We also received positive feedback on other safety protocols we provided, like our efforts to touchless sinks, mobile food ordering, etc.  

Lurie: We talked a lot about fan experience. But the Golden State Warriors business is also a pioneer in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Can you share how you manage employee experience?

Millet: We use Momentive to run an annual employee engagement survey. But we also use it for “pulse surveys” to get a sense of practical issues. For example, during the pandemic, we wanted to gauge how comfortable people felt about returning to the office once they were vaccinated. 

But we also leverage internal feedback to find ways we can better serve our employees. For example, through our survey work, we realized that people wanted to find ways to connect and show up for causes and communities that mattered to them. So we expanded our employee resource groups. And it’s been amazing to see these groups come in and sit at the table with us as we program Chase Center events. 

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