Performance Matters

I was twittering and then emailing with the organizer of the LetsBuyTheSkins this week and ended up totally overdoing it in my most recent email.  We’ve been waxing about the limits of a fans influence and the value of conscientious ownership.  Its a shot in the dark but just some of my own overly analytical thoughts on a certain professional sports team.

Ive pondered this Skins crisis a lot actually, and at the risk of sounding too existential, when does a city have a right to claim a little “ownership” over something despite it “technically” belonging to one person?  I ran into a council member at a young dems function last night (Im not partisan, politics is like a sport for me) and asked if Dan Snyder was in attendance for Abe Pollin’s memorial service, which I watched in its entirety.  His response: “You know, you would think that the owner of our city’s largest franchise would respect someone like Abe, but no, he was not, hes above all that- you know, new money.”

A few years ago the pres of Saatchi & Saatchi wrote an article describing “lovemarking”.  He was describing the emotional relationships that people have with brands and how companies should aim to “lovemark” their products rather than “settle for a trademark”.  Some of it is right on, but largely I found it a troubling concept, because it might imply that companies no longer have to deliver functional products.  They just have to deliver an ‘experience’ of the product and sell a label’s memory rather than actual performance.

Although I can appreciate the value of an experience based service, capitalism at its core requires something to WORK BETTER than the competition.  Without it, we rot in to obsolescence.  Some brands aren’t built on a history of performance (take the Saints for example), but the Skins were and that’s why there’s trouble.  The Skins were one of the most valuable lovemarks out there.  But as Saatchi decrees “At the core of every Lovemark is Respect. No Respect? It’s not a Lovemark. It’s as simple as that.”

I pulled this from, ironically it was colored perfectly

With the Skins, the consumers arent basing loyalty to the brand on functionality, they are following an emotional memory that was once based on performance.  The Redskins have a remarkable brand but unfortunately they are suffering for such emotional loyalty at the hands of someone who does not respect their needs as consumers, or what they deserve.  He considers himself the owner of a product, rather than a steward of the team he happens to own.   He loves what “the brand” means but not the purpose of a team, because if he did, he would care (as the great steward, Abe Pollin did) about what others thought about it.  This is the lesson he has yet to learn as an owner of a CITY’S TEAM, not a BRAND.  He would come up with ways to make this season fun, he would offer fans more of an experience, not less, despite the losses.

Whats sad is that this is a time when the team’s owner could bond with the fans.  He could be showing up in bars after the game to buy everyone a round, or give away a few t shirts at the games.  There are simple ways he could show his “love” and rebuild the Skins lovemark.  Beyond symbolizing success and Superbowls, the Skins logo could mean survival, fortitude and loyalty; emotions that would cement its status as one of the world’s most popular teams, no matter the record.

Returning to the question of being feared or loved…a wise prince must endeavour only to avoid hatred”
Machiavelli’s The Prince

  1. Various of folks talk about this topic but you wrote down really true words!

  1. January 28th, 2010

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