There’s nothing like getting scolded on Facebook by your mother. And all because of a baseball team she doesn’t root for. It’s October – or World Series time – this year featuring the NY Mets and once again, the Kansas City Royals. After the Mets’ clinched their spot, she posted a congratulatory message on Facebook, closing with their battle cry “Let’s Go Mets!” Trust me, she was being a good sport as she’s longtime Yankees fanatic. But her good-sport sentiment made me think about how national championships stretch our sports brand loyalties.

The professional sports leagues have done a tremendous job creating must-watch events of their annual winner-takes-all final showdowns. Whether baseball, football, basketball or hockey, once the regular season winds up, fans whose teams are out of it have two choices – stop paying attention or pick someone else to cheer. The latter can follow league loyalties, so baseball fans may favor fellow American or National league contenders, or maybe geographic affinities, such as my mother’s Mets rally cry. Bottom line is this – fans love the overarching sports brand and once a year, willingly put aside emotional ties just to stay in the game experience. Is there any other brand that can make that claim?

So back to my Facebook scolding. I replied to my mother’s post with a passing comment about how those of us in Red Sox Nation had moved on to the NFL (yes, our beloved Pats are unbeaten!) and she called me out for being a bad sport. And you know what? She’s right.

Congratulations to all of you (non-Yankee) New York baseball fans. I am actually watching the World Series game and wish you the best. Lets go Mets!


Learn from the Best: Lunch with Martha Stewart

I’m at a conference and today’s lunchtime speaker was branding maven Martha Stewart. In my view, she is a charter member of the brand positioning hall of fame. Her focus and passion around home and entertainment have yielded an iconic brand carefully crafted by Martha Stewart, the person.

So what did Martha have to say?

  1. Brand positioning: “We believe every home is a canvas.” This simple statement implies adventure and possibility, and also suggests that with Martha as your art teacher, your creation will be tasteful and stylish.
  2. Brand values: this ambitious list features the company’s efforts to be “inspiring, informative, innovative, distinctive, timeless, educational, surprising, celebratory and beautiful.” They aim to deliver on these promises through artful content, primarily beautiful photography, as found in Martha Stewart “Living” magazine, her blog and other content marketing tools.
  3. Martha Stewart recognizes they have strong competition (think Bon Appetit magazine and other lifestyle publications) and that the internet has reinvented consumer expectations.
  4. Effective management is a major challenge. Given her many ideas and opportunities, having the leadership bandwidth to nurture the longstanding core business while developing aspirations is important to succeeding.

No startling revelations; simply an inside look at a well-defined brand strategy. I’m not sure I’d thought of my home as a canvas, but it’s an uplifting term – and maybe means some redecorating is in order!