Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On the Packers Brand ... and Branding!

The Packers brand is now the Number One Brand in all of U.S. sports, not just football ... ALL of U.S. sports, says ESPN.    Forbes says it's the 17th most impactful brand in the WORLD.  The website is now first in the NFL in hits, up from sixth a few years ago.  Indeed, when you look at number of web pages accessed, it's number 12 GLOBALLY!
Tim Connolly, in his third year as head of marketing for the Packers after 18 years with three other NFL teams, explained how he drove that result in a presentation to St. Norbert College's Breakfast & Strategy group on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
He said that his charges when hired were to:  (1) Deepen the regional brand impact, (2) expand its national impact, and (3) earn more dollars from branding.  The implications of how he thinks about branding and drove what they did is enlightening for any business.
First of all, you put yourself in the head and heart of the customer, the fan, and understand all of the pressures that weigh upon him/her in deciding how to interface with the Packers.  He divided it into short- and long-term challenges.  He knew he was dealing with a brand already very firmly entrenched in the Wisconsin and national psyches, so how to build it further and how to extend its impact?
Short-Term:  When he arrived, a trend was eroding demand for premiere seating ... luxury boxes.  He had 16 of them empty.  A second was insuring that the Game Day fan experience could cope with the 50' flat-screen TV on the wall at home, where the game could be viewed very inexpensively and comfortably.  How to create compelling excitement and minimize hassle?
First of all, he hired two 30-year-olds with success in sports event selling and turned them loose.  They sold the 16, and have since been promoted to where they now oversee selling of sponsorships and other high-level initiatives.  The Game Day experience is being enhanced by surround sound, the two new huge scoreboards, a larger south end zone entrance gate with escalators, and more strategically located concession locations to minimize waiting.  Indeed, because many of the concessions are manned by volunteers, many of whom only work one game and are, thus, very inefficient, he is considering providing monetary rewards to the volunteer organizations if their staffers are experienced and, thus, more efficient.
Long-Term:  His challenges are to create new streams of revenue, and to sell more Pro Shop merchandise in an already crowded marketplace.  One initiative has been to expand the TV viewing geography to include Iowa and Omaha, neither of which encroaches on nearby NFL cities of Chicago, Minnesota or Kansas City.  This added "reach" will result in engagement of more fans, and more Pro Shop purchases.  The website has been significantly upgraded, moving from strictly a "news" outlet to one with video, opinion and other fan interests (such as the location of the nearest of 1000 Packer bars in other cities.)  That is what has driven the effectiveness of the website; time spent per visit has increased almost 25%.  In addition, his department has developed very active Facebook and Twitter initiatives that create even more frequent engagement.
A final observation in response to a question:  There is a big difference between the community-owned Packers and every other NFL franchise, he says.  "In the others, the fans begrudge the owner having a profitable enterprise.  In Green Bay, the fans want to make sure the team prospers.  I've watched situations where after a news report that some other team is selling more merchandise, that fans flock to the Pro Shop to buy jerseys so the Packers can once again be on top.  Amazing!"

Also, from Madison branding expert, Fritz Grutzner of Brandgarten:
•  "People don't buy the product.  They buy the Story that surrounds the product."

Where People Live On Average To 90 ...

There are five places in the world, where people live on average to 90, and which have the highest percentage of centenarians.  A man named Dan Buettner researched the commonalities between them, and concluded they had these 9 characteristics:
1.  Move Naturally.
2.  Have Purpose in your life.
3.  Shed Stress.
4.  Stop Eating when 80% Full.
5.  Eat Plant-based Foods.
6.  Drink Alcohol Moderately and Regularly.
7.  Belong to a faith-based community.
8.  Put Family First ... keeping aging parents and grandparents close.
9.  Participate in Social Circles.
According to Buettner and his studies, you're likely to live 10-12 years longer if you follow these practices.

From M3, Madison-based Health insurance consulting organization, regarding their client base ...

In 2011, the average cost per employee for health insurance (the total of both employee- and employer-paid portions) is:
Public Employees $16,017  (up 8.6%; higher because of greater benefits and larger employer-paid portions)
Private Sector $9,814  (up 7.5%)

Keys to Leadership Success ...

"I've never worked with a client who used Personal Mastery and Personal Awareness as a Culture who wasn't successful," says James Newton, head of Newton Learning Systems and former head of TEC's Chair training.  Indeed, he says, "those who do this well significantly outperform their TEC peers, who in turn significantly outperform average non-TEC companies."

In a recent Wisconsin workshop, he said the following should be key elements of CEOs' efforts at Personal Mastery/Awareness.  Embracing and displaying them, he said, convey to the rest of the organization that they critical habits, resulting in energized employees.
•  The most important one is Self-Disclosure/Vulnerability.  Believe it or not, it's THE key to a high performance TEC Group and a high performing company!  Why?  Because it yields Trust and Caring and Support!  If you are emotionally open to your fellow executives and employees, it not only shows them that you trust them, but they will feel that you are Authentic.  In return, they will be both caring and, most importantly, supportive of your efforts.  It makes people "all about others."  The result will be a collaborative, peak-seeking organization presenting an incredibly appealing and energized face to customers and prospects.  
•  It's Tough, but Avoid being Judgmental.  "In any situation, the person who can most accurately describe reality without laying blame will emerge as the leader,"  a quote by Edwin Friedman.  Very important ... perhaps the secret to a leader's ability to not being so separate from his/her people that critical communication doesn't occur.  It's also a key to effectiveness:  Laying blame is judgmental, and immediately causes recoil in the other person.  If you avoid any judgment about the "person," but only about the idea, then the personal relationship isn't impaired and effectiveness is more likely to occur.  One technique:  Say, "I feel ...," rather than "You are ..."

Approach to the Fiscal Cliff: Studies show ...

The Fiscal Cliff is apparently all about raising income taxes and figuring out what spending cuts to make.  Consider these approaches, based on studies of what has worked and what hasn't:
Tax Structure Changes:  A 2008 study (before the "Great Recession") of prior country experiences by Jens Arnold for the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development suggested the most effective sequence to achieve growth via structure changes is:
First:  Property taxes and other recurrent taxes on immovable property are the most "growth-friendly."  They doesn't take away personal income already committed for household spending.
Second:  Consumption taxes ... if people spend, tax that ... with exemptions on survival requirements like food, medicine.
Third:  Personal income taxes.
Last:  Corporate income taxes.  Taxing businesses' net income prevents those dollars from being used to create jobs.  They "appear to have the most negative effect on GDP per capita."
Spending:  Studies by Reinheart/Rogoff and Kumar/Woo:  At 90% debt-to-GDP (the U.S. is at 103% and growing), "the debt effect becomes large and negative" ... causing "average growth to fall significantly."
A Biggs/Jensen/Hassett review of 21 countries' experiences indicated "the more aggressively a country cuts expenditures, the more likely it is to successfully reduce debt in the long-term."  Where successful consolidation has occurred, the typical relationship of revenue from spending cuts vs tax increases is 85/15.  "In particular, cuts to social transfers, largely entitlement spending and the government wage bill, are more likely to reduce debt and deficits than cuts to other expenditures. ... Cutting government spending reduces GDP growth in the short run, even though it increases the likelihood of economic growth in the long run." 
These are from the 2011 book, The 4% Solution.
        So, what approaches are our representatives in Washington taking?