. The Transom .

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brand equity - a business insurance policy

Potential clients and people outside the industry ask me all the time, is there really anything to what I say about the value of brand equity or is it just marketing speak?  Consider this recent news that involves Tiger Woods, arguably the hottest brand on the planet.  

Tiger is part of a national promotion from Buick that has the prize of a 9-hole round of golf at Torrey Pines with Woods as your caddie.  That's right, the greatest golfer the world has ever seen, the man who commands more than $100 million a year in endorsement deals, one of the only people on the planet who is recognized by nearly everyone in any nation, will huff your bag around for 9 holes.  Some would ask, why in the world would he lower himself to this position of servitude?  Why would he devalue his brand by going from star athlete to Sherpa Woods?  

Because the equity in his brand turns this potential negative into a positive that adds more equity to the brand.  Now consider a lower equity player pulling the same stunt.  Let's pick on Jay Williamson, an exceptionally nice man, fellow St. Louisan, and nearly moderately average professional golfer.  If you're saying, who's Jay Williamson, you're not alone, but check out pgatour.com.  He's a real guy.  

So let's say Jay pulls this stunt and Buick makes the same promotion, offering to have Williamson on your bag.  First of all, the promotion would read, "PGA TOUR veteran Jay Williamson" or "PGA Tour professional Jay Williamson" will carry your bag... etc etc.  There would be that disclaimer of having to tell people a) who is he, and b) why they should care.  In Woods' case, everyone already knows that a) he's a PGA Tour player, and b) they would give their left arm to meet him.  

Additionally, reactions to Williamson on the promotion would likely be greeted with thoughts of, "Gee, he must be hard off to lower himself to this stunt," or "someone is desperate for publicity."  Not so in Woods' case.  His brand is so money that he could offer to mow your yard and people would pay thousands to see it.  

So does brand equity work as well for law firms, or manufacturing companies, or retail stores as well as it does for Tiger Woods?  You bet it does.  Work on building your brand equity today to save, and make, time and money tomorrow.  

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