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Give Your Brand the Home Field Advantage

Tom Sullivan

April 5, 2016
Tom Sullivan

There is a generally accepted belief in sports that the home team does have an advantage.  But did you know that this advantage not only exists, it has been scientifically measured in baseball? Baseball statisticians are able to identify where 75% of that advantage comes from: bias by home plate umpires. In their book, Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won, authors Tobias J. Moskowitz, and L. Jon Wertheim, reveal that over the course of a season the home team pitcher is awarded 516 more strikeouts and home team batters are awarded 195 more walks.

Where does that bias come from? I hypothesize that it emanates from the fans and affects the umpires. It’s the cumulative impact of the passion and emotional support for the team. You can’t help getting caught up, just a bit, in the fans’ excitement for the home team. Now substitute “brand” for “team”. Think of making your customers your fans. Build their excitement. That excitement will affect others—so those that need to make a call about your brand will make it in your favor.

Here are five ways to make sure your brand gets the home field advantage:

  1. Stand for something special by creating an identity your fans can rally around. Be bold and stand out. Be unique and confident. Express your brand colors, icons, logos, language, tone and rhythm where your fans can experience them. Give them a way to express their enthusiasm for your brand.
  2. Promise to deliver something and be consistent in delivering it. Play for your fans everyday.
  3. Surprise your fans with new variations on your brand. Innovate to make sure you deliver more, better, faster, easier.
  4. Tell your brand story in human terms. Who were the people that originated the brand? What problem were they trying to solve? What obstacles did they overcome? People connect with brands for a variety of reasons, but the strongest reason is emotional. Just as people follow their favorite ballplayers, if you give people a reason to care, they’ll follow your brand. Build a genuine relationship with your brand fans. They are your brand community.  Encourage them to express their voices about what they like about your brand and what missteps you may be making. Engage with them directly as well as through social channels.  Let them know that you care and that you understand. Your fans will push you forward. And, if you make a misstep, they’ll let you know and still root for your team.

With so much parity in brands, it’s critical that you cultivate your fan base. Do it right and your fans will reward you—with a home field advantage in your marketplace. And if you find yourself down against another brand, you can turn what might have been an out into another chance at a home run.