Don't Throw A Wild Pitch

Follow-up to our baseball blog the other day …

A radio interviewer asked me yesterday what I thought major league baseball would do to address its image problem. I told him what I think they would do and what I think they should do.

Baseball has a big marketing/branding problem, and I won’t be surprised if they address this marketing problem with traditional marketing solutions, i.e., try to advertise their way out of this mess.

That would be the dumbest thing they should do. According to an article in the Stanford Humanities Review, 1 out of 25 Americans will attend a major league baseball game this year, with many of those people attending multiple games. Many more millions will watch games on TV.

Instead of trying to buy their way out of the problem with ads, MLB should focus on creating the most amazing during—the—game experiences they can for these millions of fans. Think “what would make a 10 year old talk about this game for the rest of his life?” and then do it! Then, ask the same question about 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 year olds—and deliver on those dreams also! Humanize the players—make them accessible, having every one give at least 10 autographs per game. Put magic back into the experience of a live major league baseball game.

Promises can’t fix their problems. The best thing to do counterbalance the idea of heroes who cheat is to create WOW! memories through real live, genuine WOW! experiences. Great brands are built with great brand harmony, and baseball should take advantage of the millions of fans who will be spending afternoons and evenings at ballparks this year, creating incredible experiences of brand harmony that create incredible memories—diluting the effects of the steroid crisis. But will they?

Steve Yastrow posted this on March 25, 2005, in Branding.
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