Playing the Brand Management Game, Defensively AND Offensively!

Jeff McDonald, CEO Americas

Playing the Brand Management Game, Defensively AND Offensively!

Jeff McDonald, CEO Americas

Delineate Playing Offence

This past weekend was a big one for US sports fans. It was, of course Superbowl weekend. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the Kansas City Chiefs. So we thought what better time that to revisit our US CEO, Jeff McDonald’s thoughts on what brands can learn from the football field.

I am a Texan, which means I know how to do a tailgate party bigger and better than just about anyone.  I have my favorite teams hats, jerseys and beer cozies.  I have shouted myself hoarse at football games, college basketball tournaments and I might even have been heard to utter some rather colorful language during my favorite pro teams facing off in a divisional rivalry!  I am THE living, breathing manifestation of a die-hard sports fan. 

It is therefore not unexpected that I would look at the way clients manage their brands through the metaphorical lens of sports. 

Defense is not the best offense when it comes to brand management

It has always bewildered me that the game of brand management has almost always been played defensively, and ineffectively at that.  Brand trackers might give you a warning of your brand being in trouble. But when waves are fielded monthly or quarterly, there is not much intelligence that can tell you why, or what you might do about it.  And by the time you get the results and try to share it with all the relevant stakeholders in your brand stewardship team, damage is already done. The moment for optimal intervention has probably passed.

It would be like a coach calling the team together just several times a season, to try to figure out what went wrong and what went right by reviewing the play-by-play tapes across multiple games!  Chances to adjust the playbook?  GONE! 

Pro coaches assemble teams literally within a day of the game, to evaluate all the factors that impacted the score (the weather, the conditions of the field, the relative strength or weakness of each individual player’s performance THAT DAY and that of their corresponding opponents.)Finally, they analyze what they can predict about their opponents in the game coming up.

We need better equipment

It is not that brands don’t want to act like major league coaches.   

It is just that there has never been a tracking mechanism that is current enough to gather consumer sentiment and brand health data in an “always on” platform.  There haven’t been tracking solutions that are robust enough out of the box to cover all of the brand and category metrics. And traditional trackers  just aren’t  flexible enough to be customized to deliver the right view, relevant to how you apply analytics to all your other data sources. 

And affordable.  Let’s not forget affordable, and that other “A” word:  ACTIONABLE!

The wonderful thing about a brand health solution that ticks all those boxes is that it would allow companies to manage their brand offensively as well as defensively!  


A secret weapon for brand management success

So, what would brands require of an “always on” real-time brand tracking solution?  Well, ideally it needs to deliver waves of brand data daily.

 Ambitious. However, we have married the right technology and category expertise to build exactly that solution. 

It is the secret weapon clients are using to attack thorny business problems in the moment that might damage their brand health or reputation.  Our  early adopters are actually telling us they are using our syndicated data as the early-warning decision support for OPPORTUNITIES as well! Knowing what their customers and consumers are doing, thinking and feeling when they are not interacting with their brand is revealing the “AH-Ha’” moments that show where the brand could go next. 

It is a beautiful thing.  Retrospective data that is so fresh that brands can see and act on changes in sentiment and engagement in real-time. And trending data that can give brands early inklings, predictive of consumer behavior, that can fuel innovation and steer their future product strategy, marketing and communications. 

Canadian Hockey hero, “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky gave us his famous formula for success: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” 

Finally, there is a brand health intelligence source that can give you both!


You can reach me to talk about all things Texas, his favorite sports teams and always on brand intelligence at [email protected]



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