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Yo! Teach… Or, Can You Call Me, “Professor Dave?”


I’ve probably mentioned in the past that I will be teaching Executive MBA students brand management…

I can give you some details this week because I’m off to teach branding sports teams to the executive MBA students of the Kelley Direct MBA students at the Kelley School of Business.

I’ll be in Milwaukee from Thursday to Monday teaching over 250 students the lessons of brand management and how they specifically play out in the world of sports business. 

This week’s program is labeled: “The Business of Fun” and that’s pretty funny since that’s the name of my podcast, which was the number one podcast in the world for folks that market and sell live events. (We didn’t consult each other on that…) 

To these students, I’ve laid out some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned advising, coaching, consulting, and working with businesses like Yellow Tail Wines, the Boston Red Sox, the Australian Football League, Yahoo!, and more. 

We will discuss things like:

  • Why good brand managers are both analysts and architects. 
  • Why you can’t back your way into a strategy. 
  • The power of simplicity, distinctiveness, and consistency. 
  • The one weapon that sports teams have that other brands don’t. 
  • The opportunities that teams are leaving on the table by reacting to data instead of being active with research and insights. 
  • Refreshing your brand in a way that doesn’t destroy your brand equity. 

I’m excited to be with the students this week because there are some really important aspects of brand management that these students will be able to take back to their companies as soon as they are back in the office like:

  • The need to use your brand codes on everything. You can’t use them enough. 
  • We will also hit on the right way to build research so that you learn what the market wants and needs. 
  • I’ll share the importance of following the diagnosis/strategy/tactics formula. 
  • I’ll give the class a 3 question cheat sheet for managing brands that they can use straight away to understand whether or not their brand plan is fit for purpose. 
  • We will cover how they can influence the pricing decisions in their organization and give themselves a competitive advantage against other marketers in their organization or in the job market. 

The thing about “The Business of Fun” and branding sports teams is:

  • The principles of brand management are the same in any business. 
  • The challenge that most organizations face is complicating things instead of simplifying them. 
  • As the Washington Commanders have shown over the last few weeks, brand equity can change pretty quickly. The good stuff typically adds up slowly, but the bad stuff can tear you down in an instant. 
  • No matter what business you are in, you have to know your brand codes and use them constantly. Brand Codes are those symbols, colors, sounds, taglines, images, etc. that symbolize your brand to the world. 

There will be more, but you will have to be a Kelley Direct student or a student at the Kelley School of Business…

I’m excited to be there and working with the number 1 online MBA program from one of the world’s great business schools.

I’ll have more ways to apply this to you next week…but for now, I have to think about changing my Twitter handle to Prof D or something?!