Friday, June 25, 2010

The Packer Premise: There’s Green and Gold in Community Partnerships

Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mike Murphy offered a glimpse inside the Titletown organization this morning at The Business Journal’s Power Breakfast in downtown Milwaukee.

A recap focused on Murphy’s discussions of the NFL labor relations issue, but I came away with a different key theme … and a good example for just about any company to follow.

In a small market—Green Bay is by far the smallest in the league—the Packers have to be pretty resourceful to keep up with their bigger-market competition, Murphy pointed out. As beloved and legendary as the franchise is, the Pack still can’t get away with hiking ticket prices every season.

Instead, the team must be far more active in and engaged with the community.

Fortunately, no team in the league is more immersed in their home town than the Green and Gold.

n It starts with the team’s unique public ownership structure.

n It continues with its year-round hosting of tours and special events.

n More recently, the franchise has stepped up social media initiatives to connect with fans both local and national.

But perhaps most vital are the many partnerships the team has established and continues to nurture with businesses and organizations throughout the region.

Thanks to all these efforts, Green Bay is easily among the NFL’s financial leaders, despite the supposed small-town disadvantage.

The lesson for your business?

No matter how small or large your company or market, there are great advantages to be gained by fostering deep partnerships with the people, associations and corporations of the communities where you do business.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gaining a Global Perspective from the World Cup

Maybe, like a lot of Americans, you don’t care too much about soccer. (You probably don’t care to call it “football,” either.)

But you might still want to tune in to some 2010 FIFA World Cup action—if only to study the advertising.

The broadcasts are a showcase for global marketing communications. Many of the spots carry not just a soccer theme, but an international flair as well.

Entries from Coke and Adidas, the two dominant World Cup sponsors, are good examples. Outside the realm of official sponsorship, Nike steals the show:

Note what all these spots have in common: connecting with the target audience—in this case, most of the world’s population (OK, except for many in the U.S.).

The lesson? Companies aspiring to compete globally must make the effort to understand and appeal to different audiences around the world on the audiences’ terms.

These ads aren’t about U.S. companies projecting U.S. perspectives onto everyone else. They’re about global companies, communicating with a global audience, sharing global sensibilities.

There is a big difference, and it can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s global reality.

That’s why keeping an eye on the World Cup is an important opportunity to expand your perspective. After all, just as Team USA is just another player in the World Cup, a U.S. company is just another player on the world stage.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Air Show: An Event to Look up to

Is there any publicity event more effective than an air show?

I ask this as several Boeing F/A-18 Hornets roar over Milwaukee … and the adrenaline begins to flow.

If you live or work anywhere near downtown, as we do, you know the Air and Water Show is happening this weekend—because you’ve already heard and felt the Blue Angels in their preview runs.

The Navy flight demonstration team’s stated objective is recruiting, and I’d say they’re pretty darned good at that. Although the U.S. Armed Forces have certainly had some recruiting challenges in recent years, something tells me that prospective recruits find these spectacular performances to be quite persuasive.

It’s like back when I was 12 and I watched Top Gun (another compelling recruiting vehicle) for the first time. Except an air show is real, live and much, much louder. I dare you not to get at least a little fired up.

So, is there a lesson here for your next media event? OK, maybe not much. You’re probably not going to be able to book a fighter jet flyover or anything like that.

But you can still use an air show as inspiration, whatever your objective and budget. When it comes to making the right impression on your target audience, sometimes you gotta reach for the skies.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Real Slick, BP

Well, there’s at least a little bit of good news out of the Gulf of Mexico: Crews have cut the ruptured pipe and capped it.

Nevertheless, oil is likely to continue leaking throughout the summer, so the disaster is far from over.

That’s why BP’s new ads, featuring contrite messages from CEO Tony Hayward, are kind of beside the point, even if they’re the right communications approach for the company to take.

Until BP gets some real results by stopping the leak and cleaning it up, whatever words the company offers won’t hold much water. Not after trying for weeks to deflect responsibility for the leak. Not while still trying to suppress media coverage of the spill. And certainly not after trying for years to position itself as a nicer, greener petroleum company.

From the start, many were skeptical of the “Beyond Petroleum” campaign. And it turns out BP indeed was playing fast and loose with its promises. So much for living a well-grounded brand position.

Is BP doing the right thing, or is it just doing damage control now that a criminal investigation has been launched and its stock has lost a third of its value?

As the oil keeps flowing and coming ashore, the public is likely to perceive BP’s new supposedly forthright messaging as an attempt to clean up its brand—not the Gulf.