7 branding lessons from The Masters

I’m not much of a golfer; I’d rather fly fish the water hazards. With that said, I appreciate this weekend’s featured sports event: The Masters. Reflecting on this legendary golf tournament this morning (Saturday), I soon realized there were branding lessons to be learned. So, I made a list of the Top 7 that came to mind.

1. Scarcity creates demand. The Master’s is one of four PGA “Majors." This helps. It’s also the only major that is played on the exact same course every year. This also helps.

2. Become a media darling. Similar to the perceived scarcity mentioned in #1, the Masters also strategically positions itself as the only show going. Name another sporting event this weekend?  And, the media loves it.

2. Create a unique icon. The Masters carries the mantra “A tradition unlike any other." One aspect of this tradition is awarding the Green Jacket. Green Jacket? Exactly, not something that would normally win style points, but a unique icon and ceremony that makes the Masters… well, the Masters.

3. Understand Brand Continuity. Every touch point of the Masters speaks to their brand. Music, camera angles, Jim Nantz, even the birds chirping in the background, allude to what is proclaimed as a magical place. In addition to the T.V. coverage, online touch points such as the Master’s website,  CBS online coverage both carry this continuity.

4. Use a simple logo, often. I included the universally recognizable Masters’ logo above as proof that the logo only goes so far. I’m sure even amateur graphic artists could list the improvements they’d make to this logo. Not a chance. The Masters understands the weight it carries in its simplicity and tradition. They also use the same logo for all branding. For example, here’s a link to Masters’ merchandise– different item, same logo, exact, same logo. The brand makes the logo, not vice versa.

5. Develop an incredible product. Marketing a mediocre product doesn’t work. All great brands originate with an amazing product (i.e. Apple). For the Masters this product is Augusta National and the experience this course brings. The Masters knows this and spares no expense to make this product perfect. It even closes the course annually in a quest for continuously improvement.

6. Embrace your brand champions. The PGA’s pros love the Masters. Saturday’s leader, Fred Couples, claimed he’d never play again if he won the Masters this weekend. They love the challenge and they love the product (see #5). As brand champions, the pro’s fans love what they love and we all love the Masters.

7. Tell your stories. Well told stories build brands. From the beginning of the coverage to the bitter end, the Masters craft and tell their 76 years of story making. The wins the losses, the glory of victory and the agony of defeat are told time and time again. These images lead you to believe your’e watching history, and you are.

This Sunday, enjoy the Masters and embrace the years of beautiful branding. More importantly, Happy Easter!