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Brands & Performance

by Doug Davidoff | Jun 25, 2007 1:19:36 PM

I’m a big hockey fan (from the ratings, it appears there aren’t many of us). Being from Washington, DC; I’m Washington Capitals fan. The Capitals just announced that they are changing their uniforms to be a modernized version of their original uniform.

As a fan, I think it’s great. I never liked the new uniforms or the fact they went away from their red, white and blue color scheme. As a growth executive, I’m concerned they are missing the point. The Washington Post reported the news, and I was fascinated by what Tim McDermott, the team’s chief marketing officer said. Apparently he is referring to it as an “identity change” and a “brand awakening.” One which he hopes will strengthen the organization’s bond with current fans, while helping to attract new ones.

I’ve got news for the Capitals – if you want to strengthen your ties with current fans and attract new ones you only have to do one thing – PUT A BETTER PRODUCT ON THE ICE. Make the game more entertaining and build a team that has a chance to win a championship. The uniform is merely window dressing.

I have to admit, when I hear the word “brand” these days, I just want to explode. The idea that changing uniform colors will have any impact is crazy, and worse – insulting. It’s like saying, “Hey fans, don’t worry about the fact that we’ve finished LAST FOR THREE STRAIGHT YEARS, because we’ve got new uniforms.”

And this doesn’t apply to just hockey – it applies to every business. Always remember – and never forget – the reason that people are buying from you. Keep the focus on that and you will build a strong brand. Focus on ‘the brand’ and the likelihood is you’ll never have a good one. Businesses no longer ‘control’ their brands and colors don’t drive brands – customers do.

My advice to the Capitals (and every other business): Give us (your customers) a good offering and we’ll take care of the rest.