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Brand Management Matters In Sports, Yes. But Everywhere…

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3. How To: Brand Matters in sports and any organization

Big Ideas:

  • A strong brand helps you gain pricing integrity.
  • A strong brand helps you build loyalty.
  • A strong brand helps you generate demand. 

I like this piece from Jess Smith because she’s thought about branding and brands a lot. 

I’m one of those folks that she talks about lumping this whole thing together, but let me explain why. 

When I look at a brand, I look at the strategy as the overarching plan for the brand, and the codes, DNA, position, and the other elements service the strategic plan. 

The other difference in our approach is that I don’t think your brand plan changes that often, you need a through-line in your strategy look at some of the great fashion brands like Burberry, Nike, and Louis Vitton where elements show up in their advertising and marketing over and over again throughout the years. 

From an execution standpoint, there might be much less that separates us. 

But the key to why you need to focus on your brand is threefold in the case of entertainment businesses:

  • Demand generation
  • Loyalty
  • Pricing integrity

Beginning with demand generation, brand building helps you ensure that there is demand for your product when it goes on sale. 

Three important ways brand building helps generate demand:

  • Trust building
  • Creates a symbol of value
  • Generates differentiation

This is one reason that any band, team, orchestra, theatre, or show needs to think brand first because it can build a pathway to demand that might be difficult to create through short-term sales activation. 

I know that too much of the industry is tactical, but at the root level brand building is essential. 

Brand building helps build loyalty. 

Why does loyalty matter?

  • Repeat purchases
  • Lifetime customer value

Easy examples are all around us. 

There was an article I shared a long time ago about how Pearl Jam plays for three generations of fans. I heard a story recently about the foundation of one man’s lifelong love of the Red Sox and how his grandfather took him to his first Red Sox game at Fenway. Or, the folks that have seen Wicked 45 times

These are clear examples that show that brand building can lead to some serious cash…through multiple purchases. 

Finally, we have price integrity. 

How does your brand help you maintain price integrity?

We could go through a lot here, but:

  • Your brand helps establish a marque meaning quality.
  • Branding helps you move away from being a commodity. 
  • Branding creates a shorthand that often leads to purchasing.

The most important thing here is that your brand leaves a mark and if you do it well, it is a mark of quality. 

Think about the way I’ve been focusing my brand on being focused, effective, and profitable. All of the ideas that flow out of here are built on making sure people spend less time doing things that cost them profits. 

This means that I’ve moved from being a “consultant” to having a name brand. I’m not a commodity. 

You don’t want to be a commodity because then the real decision is about price. This is where most entertainment businesses have found themselves now, a commodity. Where they’ve lost control over the conversation of the value of the performance, the impact of the event, and the value associated with attending in person. 

Finally, if you’ve done the first two jobs well…this is often a shortcut to purchasing. 

A strong brand acts as a shortcut to getting people to buy your product or service. 


Because your brand represents value. And, when confronted with multiple choices, often the better brand wins. 

Put this to work:

  • Decide what you want your brand to reflect? Commodity or distinct?
  • What attributes do you want your brand to have? Use my example of focused, effective, and profitable. 
  • Why you? Is that coming through?