Well, March Madness is finally over and all the Louisville bandwagon jumpers are reveling in their national championship. (I swear I'm not bitter.) Sadly, my Wolverines just couldn't throw together a second half and hold the lead. Oh, well ... we'll be back (hopefully it's not another two decades before that happens though).
Until about five years ago, I had never cared much for basketball. Like any other maple-syrup-loving Canadian, I played hockey growing up. When it came time for me to hang up the skates and pick up a pen in order to try and eek out a living as an advertising copywriter, I remember how easy the transition was. Athletics and business have much more in common than one might think. After all, sports cliches and the language of the locker room is used in about 50% of corporate boardrooms (according to Dr. Don R. Powell, a licensed psychologist and President of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine in Farmington Hills, Mich).
In celebration of Michigan making it to the Finals, I thought I’d try to underline the connection between sports and business by taking my top four sports quotes and seeing how they apply to marketing.
#4. "There's no "'i' in team" – John R. Wooden
In sports – and in business – nothing makes for a great cliché like stating the obvious. But sometimes things that seem pretty straightforward – like the value of teamwork – aren't as obvious as we'd like to think. "Don't treat your customers like idiots" is another one you'd think would be a well-worn cliché by now, but not so.
With the internet and social media, consumers have never been more educated and more exposed to opinions, reviews and information from which they can draw a clearer picture of a company's products, intentions or reputation. And if you don’t think they’re smart enough to tell the difference between brands looking to sell things and brands looking to help its customers, think again.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com illustrates this when he spoke of a letter he once received from a critic in reference to Amazon allowing reviews for all of their products. The critic said, "You don’t understand your business. You make money when you sell things. Why do you allow these negative customer reviews?" To which Jeff replied, "We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions."
Amazon's 2012 revenues were US$ 61.09 billion dollars. So, although there's no 'i' in Amazon, there is an 'on', and they know that their customers aren't idiots; and treating them like they're on the same team is better for their business, their reputation, and their bottom line.
If you enjoyed the first post in this series, check back next week for Part 2 where I’ll try and narrow down one of Muhammad Ali’s many, many amazing quotes for you.
Jesse Ouimet is PUSH 22′s copywriter. He ensures that our clients have an ample and steady supply of creative ideas, as well as ensuring that anything going out the door with words or type on it is free of errors.