I recently read an interesting article at Pittsburgh Live regarding the Pittsburgh Penguins' attempt to harness the energy around the team right now and turn it into an iconic brand.
The following quote got me thinking:
Actually, nothing was ordinary about a process that had Pittsburgh fans comparing the Penguins, Steelers and the Pirates in terms of ... cars.
"That was my favorite question: What kind of car is (the team)?" Morehouse said about hundreds of questions posed by Stellus Consulting, the Minnesota company hired to help the Penguins brand its National Hockey League franchise.
Interviews revealed consumers likened the team to a Jaguar -- sleek, fast and exotic. The Steelers were a Hummer -- tough, rugged and dominating.
"As odd as it may sound, your brand has nothing to do with your players, your ownership or your arena," said Corky Hall, Stellus CEO. "It's only about the consumers' perception of everything and the other choices they have."
So, what kind of car would you say the Mountianeer football program is now? What kind of car was it under Rodriguez? Under Nehlen? And how about basketball? Baseball? Informative what your gut reactions are, isn't it?
And that last part intrigues me, also. If your brand has nothing to do with your players, your ownership (in this case, the coaches and administration, I guess) or your arena, and is only about "consumers' perception of everything," how do we, as consumers view this brand? Nothing changes my positive feeling when I see the Flying WV, so kudos to whoever designed one of the great logos in sports. But that is just me. Even without winning, I feel positive about the school and its teams, and I would guess that is because of effective branding.
Perhaps, this is why so many teams frequently change their helmets, (ahem...this week's opponent for one...), because the branding has led to negative feelings for the program. But notice that none of the great programs ever change their helmets.
A friend of mine and I talked this out and here is what we came up with:
Football Under Nehlen: F-150.
Football Under Rod: Ferrari
Football Under Stew: Lincoln Towne Car
Baseball: Chevy Nova