By Asaph Mwebaze
When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer (fans) experience, everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the customers experience from your good or service.
When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand; In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.
It is critical to be aware of your brand experience and have a plan to create the brand experience that you want to have a good brand doesn’t just happen, it is a well thought out and strategic plan.
Many small clubs or start-ups neglect to spend necessary time thinking about their brands in this broad sense and the impact it has on their business.
I will look at some of the reasons why branding a football club or team is important:
Branding promotes recognition
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
In this case, buy season tickets, club apparel and products endorsed by the club.
Your brand helps set you apart from the competition
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. You are no longer competing on a local stage; your club now competes in the global economy.
In the informative years of the Premier League in Uganda, we identified our clubs just by colours; KCCA FC’s yellow, Express FC’s red and SC Villa’s blue.
That has not been enough because any club can use those same colours. Clubs need to have a distinct colour pattern and design of their football jerseys. Only Vipers and KCC FC have tried to get this brand recognition.
How do you stand out from the thousands of similar organizations in the country and around the world?
Your brand tells people about your business DNA
Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like the logo or badges to the way that your phones are answered and of late the social media interactions tells your customer/fan about the kind of club or team that you are.
Your brand should provide motivation and direction for your staff. A clear brand strategy provides the clarity that your staff needs to be successful.
Clubs with clear brands like Vipers, KCC FC, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus will attract the best coaches, players, backroom staff and fans.
The brand tells them how to act, how to win and how to meet the organization’s goals.
A strong brand generates referrals
People love to tell others about the brands they like. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love.
On the flip side, you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember. Most of the clubs in Uganda are not easy to remember and not easy to recommend to other people. This is because the brands are unrecognizable and carelessly handled.
Additionally, a strong brand website strategy is critical to generating referrals or viral traffic. Some of the most visited websites in the world are football club related.
Teams like Arsenal, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing well because of their vibrant websites and social media accounts.
Brand Website Strategy
A strong brand helps customers know what to expect. A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each and every time, they experience the brand.
In Uganda ticket holders of clubs KCCA FC, Vipers and Wakiso get some preferential treatment during matches and the experience brings brand loyalty.
The brand represents the club and a promise to a customer or fan. It is important to remember that your brand represents you; You are the brand, your staff are the brand, your marketing materials are the brand.
What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you’re going to deliver (promise) to the customer?
A clear brand strategy helps you stay focused on your mission and vision as an organization. Your brand can help you be strategic and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money.
Your brand helps you connect with your customers emotionally
A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand. Case in point can be Arsenal in England.
The poor performance affected the emotions of people and it reflected in the ticket and jersey sells. To deal with that effect there was a response to buy players like Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey.
In Uganda, Vipers has gone out and bought the best players in Uganda thus attracting many fans and rivalries. This has attracted many people to the club.
Purchasing is an emotional experience and having a strong brand helps people feel good at an emotional level when they engage with the company or club.
A strong brand provides your business value
A strong brand will provide value to your organization well beyond your physical assets.
The best branding is built on a strong idea; An idea that you and your staff can hold on to, can commit to, and can deliver upon. This can be in style of play, type and quality of players at the club and club’s ambitions towards success.
When your football club is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous fruit while building brand loyalty among your customer base.
The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.