Are You Truly Excited About the Brand You Work On?

By Dave Tan, VP, Innovation & Product Development

Recently, I had the great fortune of attending a top tier sport brand’s product road show to hear about coming product launches, marketing plans and overall goals and objectives for 2011.  I went in with the pre-conceived notion of having their directors and c-level marketers talk about products within a presentation, walk through financials and a few BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for the next year and beyond. It’s the standard product PowerPoint road show that many of us have seen and been a part of.  Depending on the brand or service, it can get pretty bland, or it can be a huge showmanship presentation like what Apple does every June at WWDC.   What I witnessed last month was very different.

Granted, this brand is a famous household name that many of us regularly purchase, but a fellow executive and I came away big fans of the brand again.  That fandom was something we both probably haven’t felt passionate about since playing collegiate sports.

How’s that?  The truth.  The simple truth, and one that I feel needs to happen more often across the marketing industry.   Brands and their marketing teams should consider stepping up a bit and marketing themselves to their partners.  It’s a subtle tweak, but it’s a mutually beneficial investment. By making the effort to market your brand to your partners, your partners, in turn will be more enthused and dedicated to your brand and deliver even better marketing messages to your target consumers.

How did this brand market to us? By creating an environment to fully immerse all attendees in the product-oriented theme.  The event was an event spectacle in itself as over a course of four hours, I was placed in a high school football stadium, a professional fitness gym, a pro sports locker room, and a branded presentation room.  Beyond the tactile experience, we (over 200 marketers, publishers, media owners, agencies, and partners) got the opportunity to hear in-person from a cross-section of their target consumers.  From a high school football trainer, to amateur endurance athletes, to a professional athlete and a movie star trainer, we were able to gather unique and unbranded insights lending a tremendous amount of credibility and a different kind of product sponsorship.

 Again, this was directed at 3rd party partners, agencies, media outlets, publishers, and marketers-not at their target consumers.  That simple distinction is what captivated me.  This brand spent an enormous amount of time, energy, money and resources planning and executing what they felt was the best way to market themselves to their extended “paid” partners.  They did a great job, and I think it’s safe to say, we are all that much more excited to be working with this brand now and I know, I personally, have a stronger drive to help this brand meet their goals in whatever way I can.

This kind of initiative just helps push a relationship past being a “just a vendor” to a trusted and dependable partner.  This transcends sports marketing brands, as I know that a few of our other clients have gone above the norm and given away products, or designed in-person experiences to team members so that they can experience and truly believe in their client’s product or service and market with a truer passion.
So I ask: when was the last time you were excited about the brand you were working on?  If you aren’t, it may be a wise move to take the extra step and experience it before devising a search or digital marketing strategy.  It will pay off in the end.


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