Business lessons from the football field

Effort is demanded and recognized.

Success is celebrated; failure is shared.

Great business philosophy?  Absolutely.  The source?  The football field.

football stadium

This week-end’s CFL games and behind the scenes activity are excellent examples of what to do — and not do– in the business world and in marketing/ communications especially.

 6 Lessons from the field

For all (there are still a few of you out there, aren’t there?) Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans, I apologize.  I’m going to bring up some painful memories  not the least of which is Friday’s home field loss against Hamilton.

Business and Marketing Rule #1. 

Manage Expectations.

With  the recent  management shake-up, there was an enormous expectation that there would be (finally) a win on the home turf at the brand spanking new and expensive stadium.  “Everything” was going to be done to turn the club around.

This tremendous emotional momentum should have had some positive impact on the game. But it didn’t.

No win.  No almost win.  No impressive effort.  By the fourth quarter fans (those who were still there)  were trying to amuse themselves:  playing tunes on the plastic horns, adding percussion with the cow bells.  Loss happens in football ALL THE TIME.  That’s how it plays.  What was the problem?…well many things (Arm-chair QBs-  please respond with your ideas!)

Business and Marketing Rule #2

Declare your leaders so they can be followed.

At Friday’s Bomber game  It looked like the organization  was interviewing for the leadership position with the rotation of three in the important role of QB,   the pivot.  Bomber fans didn’t know who to follow, to love, to cheer on, to get behind.  Playing three different quarter backs randomly (Yes, I understand the short yardage strategy.) seemed disparate and confused.   It didn’t help that the weeks before the game were utter chaos with a new “starting QB” announced every three minutes.  Fans also needed to see that after all the uncertainty, someone had finally decided something.  We didn’t see that.

Business and Marketing Rule #3

Own your failure

After the game, Bomber head coach gave the team a C and a D for their effort.   That’s average or below average. Really?

The team not only lost the game 37 to 18,  it is last in the league.  That’s an F.  For failure.

Business and Marketing Rule # 4

Delight your stakeholders

On the west coast, The B.C. Lions’ surprise introduction of their  hot and sassy new black jerseys was sheer brilliance.   Does a fancy new outfit really make a difference?  Yes, and here’s why.

Replay the start of the game-  That’s right, just cue up the PVR to when the Lions rumble out to the field . They are prowling, leaping on  the turf with glee, delight and utter audacity. They look amazing  and they know it.  Pumped up and ready?  Oh yeah.  Now remember your own reaction.  What are you thinking?  Something like “Hot damn”  “Wow.” “Something special is coming down.” (Or “up”  apologies – current hip language is foreign to me, I confess.)

Business and Marketing Rule # 5. 

Make sure your hot and new product is perceived as hot and new. 

Do the research.  Don’t launch a “dud” in a spectacular way.  B.C. got it right.  Even the TSN announcers were drooling at the new jerseys.

Business and Marketing Rule # 6. 

Once you’ve created a demand,  fulfill it.

By half time  B. C. fans themselves were wearing the hot new helmets. How “cool” is that.


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