Attending the Masters is on the bucket list of every serious sports fan. Even if golf isn’t your thing, you’ve no doubt heard that Augusta National is one those places that will leave you breathless.
Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of the hype but this spring I accepted an invitation to see for myself. I was not disappointed.
Everything about the day was perfect. Watching the world’s greatest golfers compete in a Major tournament was riveting. The course was more pristine than it looks on TV, and paying four bucks for a pint was as refreshing as the beer itself.
What amazed me most was how well the old boys in green distribute the Masters brand.
Your brand is the sum of all your actions, including how you follow through and communicate it. You can spend an entire career building your own personal brand equity only to see it ripped away by a mindless Tweet or bad behavior.
At Augusta National, the sum of the Masters brand is even greater than its parts. Here’s what I learned about brand distribution while sitting at Amen Corner munching on a two dollar pimento and cheese sandwich.
Excellence all the time
During my 12 hours on the course, every employee was on his “A” game. Not one person I crossed paths with missed an opportunity to greet me and welcome me to their tournament. The workers acted like there was nothing they’d rather be doing. The lesson: Every conversation, LinkedIn post, or sales call should enhance your brand. Don’t take one moment off. Be excellent all the time. Customers will notice, just like I did.
Brands within the brand
The Masters has a powerful brand but so do many of its unique attributes. I spent most of the day at Amen Corner but also visited Magnolia Lane, Ike’s Tree, and Founders Circle—Masters “sub-brands” that enhance the aura of the event. Lesson: There are powerful opportunities to create sub-brands within your personal brand. Try giving your newsletter a compelling name or promoting your services like they are unique standalone entities.
Lineups are expected at a major sporting event and the Masters is no different. The first time I lined up for food there was a girl at the back of the line with a huge sign: “10-minute wait.” The good news is I was through in less than 5 minutes. This was repeated every time I was hungry. Instead of being upset, Mr. Patience was ecstatic because I got through in half the advertised time. Lesson: Set customer expectations through clear communications—and exceed them.
The Masters logo was on absolutely everything. You don’t buy a Coke, you buy a Coke in a take-home Masters cup. Pulled-pork sandwiches are wrapped in Masters-branded foil. Lesson: Don’t miss a chance to promote and enhance your brand. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your personal brand or risk being just an average golf tournament.
Look the part
While smiling the day away Augusta National employees wear uniforms that are appropriate and reflective of their job.
Clearly, there was a hierarchy. It started with the parking lot attendants in Dockers and polished deck shoes and ended with the big-wig tournament officials who, in spite of the 90-degree weather, wore jackets (green of course) and ties. Lesson: Your appearance is part of brand distribution. Look the part.
Distributing your brand is about taking advantage of every opportunity and making sure every action adds to your aura.
The Masters is one of the most powerful brands in the world. There’s a lot more than great golf in Augusta.
Mike McCarron is the president of Left Lane Associates, a firm that specializes in the “monetizing” of transportation companies. A 30-year industry veteran, he founded MSM Transportation which he sold in 2012. Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-931-7212. Follow him on Twitter: @AceMcC All posts by Mike McCarron