Branding Your Event and Yourself to Engage Your Community & Following

 Posted on: December 17 2019
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Branding can take you to two very different places. 

  1. You own some cows
  2. You own an idea, product, or company

Although the first could be a bullish conversation.....we'll spend some time talking about how it impacts your business, team, product or idea. 

Branding in the marketing sense has several major distinctions but here are a few of the key points:

  • Branding communicates the consistency of your product and the customer experience
  • Branding is essential for good advertising in today's digital noise
  • Branding encourages employee price, satisfaction, and morale
  • Branding allows you to communicate why you stand out from the competition
  • Branding helps you generate more customers
  • Branding if done right can help increase your company's value
  • Most importantly Branding It creates trust and loyalty with the customer

Within sports, a segment that has such a strong media component, we often see so many strong brands. In most cases, they have developed after years of winning, losing, or for making news for all the wrong reasons (See Cleveland Browns). These examples often have internal brands that lead to external understandings of the product.

Take the New York Yankees for example (it's hard for me to write about them positively) but their brand has been born from decades of success and legendary players like Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jeter, Rivera, and Berra to name a few. These great players have given the franchise numerous championships and their fans lots to celebrate. Very few brands have stayed as consistent as the Yankees. In 1912, the Yankees adopted their classic pinstripe uniforms and 5 years later added the NY monogram. While other teams added color and adapted their logos over the years to match popular culture, the Yankees never wavered. They've remained consistent. Which as we have already covered is a key distinction when branding. 

How has that impacted the Yankees franchise? Well, that's easy. They've attached that consistency to winning. It's been with them for years. Their fans are arrogant and demand victory each and every season. The result shines through when the game is on the line and the fans cheer louder than any other team in the league. It's because they believe not only in the team but in the brand, which is winning. There are hundreds of other things you could attach to the Yankees but winning and therefore success is the most notable tag associated with the organization. All associated with the consistency of their brand and the winning culture it has created.

Replicating this brand is a tall task. However, your organization or event can start by asking these three questions:

  1.  What is the most important characteristic of our organization or business? - The answer to this question will set the table for the next two questions. However, this is an important step in the journey. Most organizations use existing principles to determine an outcome for their brand. Instead of reverse engineering your brand you need to craft a brand from your competitive advantage the customer can relate to your product. 
  2. Does my brand tell the consumer what we do? (See Forbes Top 100 Brands) - The most powerful brands in the world are where all of the case studies come from. These don't apply to a new, small, or medium-sized business. It takes years and often decades to establish the brand power these companies have. That said since you probably don't have millions of dollars lying around to start communicating that brand start by communicating it with your branding. It can be in your name, slogan, tagline, hashtag, cause, or business model i.e., Bank of America or Apple ('Think Different') but it's important you share your vision with the customer and outline how you differentiate yourself from the competition. 
  3. Does my brand match how our consumer does business? (see Sears) - Over the years in the industry, I've seen too many tournament companies brand their business with their name, use a generic name (e.g., 'Insert Adjective' Tournaments), or miss entirely by trying to be cool (it happens). Instead hit something in your niche. If you're an elite event build a brand that communicates that but doesn't try to accept any caliber participant and expect your brand to be associated with premium quality.  

Branding is a fun exercise to do. We've seen many of the industry's destinations re-brand in recent years and it's helped the community grow and thrive. It's ok to start over and if possible it's even more important to get it right the first time. If you don't that's ok, few do. 

   Tyler Childs


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