Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Retaining The Equity Of Tradition And Sense Of Place

An illustration of the economic value of sense-of-place and the importance of keeping a brand uncluttered and free from dilution is in the June 27th weekly issue of Sports Illustrated Magazine.

In a day and age when naming rights, sponsorships and advertisements are ubiquitous, in an article entitled All That Glitters Isn’t Sold, journalist and author L. Jon Wertheim takes just more than a page to remind us that there is another way to succeed.

When asked by Wertheim why the Wimbledon Championships brand remains pure and free of corporate logos, courtside billboards, rotating signs and luxury suites, a long-time tournament referee, Alan Mills, “responded with a confused look, ‘If we did that, I suppose it wouldn’t be Wimbledon, would it?’”

Noting that there is “equity in tradition” Wertheim finishes this excellent piece by writing - “Maybe the moral for sports properties is this: Sure, you can make money from selling your soul. But there’s also value in hanging on to it.”

Still, even as the effectiveness of advertising continues a steep, long-term decline, I suspect, just as Mike Golic has prophesied, greed and ego will conspire to wallpaper the uniforms of athletes in the near future much as they do race cars today.

Mr. Wertheim’s eloquence about this important aspect makes me wonder if Jon Wertheim, who grew up in Bloomington the child of an Indiana University, may have come across an essay by another IU professor, The Geography of Somewhere by Scott Russell Sanders.

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