Lessons from Barcelona and the Green Bay Packers
Yesterday Nick wrote about the cultish behavior of the Green Bay Packers’ fans and how every company in the world aspires to motivate such behavior, yet very few do because they don’t have strong brands.
I think it’s more than just a strong brand, it’s about the experience. Sport teams with cult-like following reach such status because they provided shared experiences. They bring people together. They create communities.
If you think about all such sport teams (Barcelona, Liverpool, Olympique de Marseille, Green Bay Packers, <insert another football/basketball/baseball/cricket team here>), most of them bear the name of the location in which the team was started. That’s not just because it was an easy solution to a difficult problem (naming a team), but because sport teams are one of the pillars of each one of these communities and always have been. Something very few brands can and want to be. However, that’s not to say that companies can’t achieve such cult-like following. Apple and Patagonia have done it.
Last week Simon Jenkins from The Guardian wrote about the rise of the experience economy and shared some incredible numbers about the music, live comedy, politics, museums and galleries. People are spending more and more time doing things, going places, meeting people IRL, which provides two great opportunities for brands who want to become part of people’s lives instead of just push messages.
Opportunity number one is an obvious marketing lesson from sport teams: create experiences that bring people together.
Opportunity number two is about how we use digital platforms. I’ve written before about the power of experiences as it relates to harnessing the social graph. But it can work the other way around as well: using small data, personal data, to amplify and personalize real-world experiences. Think about all the data we share about who we are, who our connections are, what we like, what we buy, where we go, what we do. Google, Facebook, Amazon and our cell phones, the most personal device, probably know more about us than we will ever know. And all the data can be used to amplify our real-world experiences and make them more exciting, more entertaining, more rewarding, more memorable, thus creating stronger emotional connections with brands.