This relatively short post is for all of you out there who think that brands are the sole responsibility of the marketing department.
Recently, it was reported that the St. Louis Rams were up for sale and that several groups were interested in bidding for the team, most notably, a group headed up by Dave Checketts (former CEO of Madison Square Garden) and controversial radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh.
Several NFL players have already stated that if Mr. Limbaugh’s bid is successful they will never play for the Rams. People in St. Louis have vowed to never again attend games, and at least one NFL owner (Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts) has said he will never vote to approve such a sale.
Why? Because you are who you associate with, and the Rams will have a distinctly different brand if Mr. Limbaugh is one of the owners. After all, Mr. Limbaugh is a brand unto himself – A brand that, through association with the Rams, will hurt ticket sales, free agency and, ultimately, the value of the franchise, merely because he is such a divisive personality.
So next time you think that brands are managed by your agency or marketing department only, think about Mr. Limbaugh and his potential effect on the St. Louis Rams.
A company is a living, breathing entity whose brand can be affected by everything – including customer service, sales, operations, product quality, and even its ownership group. And if you do something out of brand character, like bring a polarizing influence into your company, it can really hurt you in the end.
Think of it as ‘The Limbaugh Effect’.
Update – Mark Cuban just wrote a good post on why the NFL can’t let Rush Limbaugh be an owner here.
Update #2 – Don Banks from SI.com is reporting that Limbaugh has been dropped from the group bidding to buy the Rams.