Analysis, Football

What These 3 NFL Clubs Can Teach Your Business About Branding

There’s no one more loyal than a sports fan. They would die for their team. But not all fans are born supporters of their team. NFL clubs have to work at their branding to earn their support.

How you can turn customers into loyal fans of your business? By learning from these NFL teams!

FanWide's Miami Dolphins Fans in Seattle
FanWide’s Miami Dolphins Fans in Seattle

Miami Dolphins: Improve Engagement with Social In-House Content

If you’re a child of the 90s, your first introduction to NFL branding was Ace Ventura. Ace isn’t as slick as Dick Tracy but he’s as smart. He uses his detective brains to find Snowflake, mascot of Miami Dolphins.

A lot has changed since 1994, but Miami Dolphins are still leading the way in branding. Here’s how.

In 2016 CEO, Tom Garfinkel, revamped the team’s content strategy. He did this by bringing it in-house, then pushing it through the Dolphins’ social platforms.

This gave Garfinkel control over the Dolphins’ storytelling. Now his marketing team creates content driven by their own fan data. It’s based on how the team’s fans engage with the Dolphins. Because of this, the Dolphins’ fans are more engaged with the brand.

Don’t believe me? Believe the figures. Miami Dolphins have generated $4 million in ticket sales via leads from Facebook. That’s in only two years.

You know who your customers are better than anyone else. You hold the most personal data on them. And own the details about them which are most valuable to your business.

Write your content in-house using this data and pushing it through your socials.

FanWide helps Dolphins fans connect with over 175 fan clubs nationwide.  Find the closest to you at https://www.fanwide.com/watch-party/miami-dolphins/5772df596d4fa13614234a97.

Los Angeles Chargers: Respect Tradition when Rebranding

Some call them the NFL’s most underrated team. That might be true but there’s one thing that’s beyond debate. Los Angeles Chargers’ 2017 rebranding did not go under the radar.

To mark their return to Los Angeles, the team changed its logo.  Fans can always use FanWide to find the closest Chargers community wherever they live or travel at https://www.fanwide.com/watch-party/los-angeles-chargers/599174ebc5b98c2d2415ec34.

They updated their lightning bolt. The Chargers did this by incorporating it into a logo centered on LA. They also ditched their historic colors, moving from gold and blue to white and blue.

Fans hated it.

So they tried again. They kept the logo and brought back the gold/blue.

Fans still didn’t like it.

They gave it a third shot. The lightning bolt vanished. In its place was a yellow/blue logo reading:

LA Chargers Logos
LA Chargers Logos Credit: @ArashMarkazi

Fans dismissed the Chargers and they finally went back to their original logo.

Logos can be a life and death issue for your business. Your customers make a connection to your logo. It doesn’t only say something about your brand, it represents part of their identity.

If you want to move into a new market, changing your logo to appeal to a new audience could backfire. Your existing customers may feel like the Chargers fans – unappreciated. The lesson to learn from this logo disaster is that there are other ways to branch out your brand. Using the example of Seattle, here’s how you can do it.

Find a company from the Pacific Northwest and team up in a co-branding campaign. Here are some great examples of brand teamwork to inspire you. Or you could turn your brand into a franchise. Red Bull (from the co-brand example) are experts at this. They acquire businesses, add the Red Bull name and logo to it, and let the original owners run them as a franchise. All you need to do is replicate this tactic for the region you’re moving into.

Red Bull Branding
Red Bull Branding  Credit: Pixabay

New England Patriots: Make your Branding into a Culture – A Way of Living

Think New England Patriots and what springs to mind? Tom Brady. It’s hard to look past him. He’s one of two NFL players to win 5 Super Bowls. And he’s the only one to do it at the same club.

Tom Brady is the handsome face of the New England Patriots, and having a recognizable face for your company is crucial. But he isn’t the reason for their brand success. That’s down to the culture of the club. The Patriot Way.

This is a vision that puts the team over the individual. It sees Brady’s professionalism represented in every facet of the club. It’s about showing people you’d die for them and making them feel the same. It’s a way of life.

The Patriot Way frames the team’s branding. Each employee is a representative of the brand, an ambassador for the team’s values. So when Tom Brady steps in front of a camera he’s only the most visible part of The Patriot Way.  With over 250 clubs nationwide, Patriots fans can use FanWide to find a local meet up near them at https://www.fanwide.com/watch-party/new-england-patriots/5772df596d4fa13614234a93.

Another brand who made its culture a selling point is Apple. Steve Jobs was the Tom Brady of Apple, the poster boy for the company. But he was always on display as Steve Jobs of Apple, representing brand as a way of living. Apple replicates that by hiring based on personality.

And it worked.

Creating passionate fans!
Creating passionate fans Credit: Flickr

Apple customers are part of a family. They buy into the brand’s culture of being cool, unique, and part of a community. This makes them into Apple’s foot-soldiers. It’s the same with the New England Patriots. To follow the team means your someone who’s driven, charming, and communal. It’s a lot easier to build loyalty by making people feel that way.

Building a culture for your brand is tricky. You have to make sure that your customers buy into your values. But if you get it right you won’t have customers, you’ll have fans. And like Tom Brady, fans remain loyal to their team for life.

The on-field success of these NFL teams isn’t determined by their branding, but the off-field is. Ruin your branding and you’ll lose customers, or never convince people to buy from you. But create the right branding and you’ll own your fans’ loyalty forever.

This was a guest blog post by Patrick Foster from Ecommerce TIps.  Ecommerce Tips is an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. Start growing your business today and check out the latest on Twitter @myecommercetips.