Quick, think of the most powerful brands and say their names out loud….what was your answer?
Apple? Google? Facebook? Twitter? Mercedez? BMW? all valid answers. IOS vs Android, Tweets vs Status updates, and Smooth ride of Benz vs Sporty feel of BMW all evoke emotional reactions from the die hard fans.
I’m an apple fanboy and everytime I say something about an iPhone, any android fan around will quickly make sure they are heard about how “shitty” iPhone and IOS is.
“Can your iPhone do this?” to which I usually roll my eyes as if this is not worth an argument (but i’m going to have one anyway). We all know Apple ecosystem is just a beautiful thing. Truth of the matter is feature by feature the top Android devices and iPhone is very similar.
You can hear people having the same conversation about Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter fan : “oh I just deleted my Facebook account because its just for old people to share pics”
Facebook Fan : “twitter is so annoying, half the time I don’t even know what i’m looking at and why do I have to follow people to see whats going on?”
The envy of all brands
Ever seen a Facebook fan fight a twitter fan? or a Benz fan slash tires of a BMW? That would be crazy right? I mean these are just businesses and it’s dumb to fight about them. I would be shocked if NFL was not in the top 5 strongest brands in the US across any industry.
Welcome to NFL! The biggest emotional, roller coaster beast of a business I can think of. Where else can you get people literally fighting over “their team”? Or be depressed days post a lose. I have to admit I was depressed for a few days when “my team” the 49ers lost to the the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game. Sports in general are amazing at getting fans to connect with the product as “my team”. The only thing the team does is give me bragging rights, but as a fan I hold that so dear and close to me. It’s something i’m willing to argue over for hours. I don’t get paid for it, in-fact i’m usually paying for it with my time and money spent on tickets.
So how does the NFL do it?
I’m no brand expert but as a consumer of NFL product I have two ideas on how they got me hooked.
- Limited Exposure and commitment – 16 games (+4 max if your team makes it to the Superbowl), once a week. I’ll happily give up my entire sunday, in-fact ill tell you right now that 16 sundays in a row, i’m busy! That is the profile of almost every NFL fan! Missing a game is like missing out on air, its just not fathomable. MLB on the other hand never gets my attention because the season is just too damn long. NBA and NHL face similar over exposure issues which is why I don’t get interested till closer to the playoffs. By limiting my exposure to their brand, NFL has created a need for their product.
- We’re all coaches and referees – this goes against common wisdom which states “continuous action is what makes a sport exciting”. I am a fan of continuous actions sports like Soccer, Basketball and Hockey but when i’m watching these games, usually everyone is just hushing each other. Why? because the action never stops. In NFL, after each play, all of us become coaches and referees dissecting everything that just happened. That’s powerful interaction, no wonder you will rarely see people watching Football alone. It’s something you do with friends! You argue, you yell and that sort of interaction is hard to replicate during the regular season in any sport.
Got thoughts on NFL or other brands and what makes it so powerful? Put it in the comment below.