March Madness Experience logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re probably well aware of the madness that’s going on right now, a little something called March Madness. The office lunch room tables are probably filled with NCAA brackets and I would be willing to bet that a few office mates are trying to stream the games on their laptops.
March Madness has evolved into a huge national social event that lures in millions of fans every year for a weekend of non-stop sports action. Have you ever stopped and wondered how this happened? How did this weekend manage to grab the attention and calendars of millions of basketball fans around the world? I think the NCAA could teach businesses a thing or two.
Let me start to paint a picture for you .Think about a basketball team, let’s say Syracuse Orangemen. They are a team, a company if you will, that is made up of players (employees) and a leader (Coach Boeheim) and we as fans are the customers. Coach Boeheim has cultivated a culture where each player has a set of behaviors and a common mindset that these players do every day they come to work. From Point Guards, Shooting Guards, to Forward Centers each position has a set of behaviors that should be performed each time they hit the court. These players have a common mindset that guides behaviors which in turns creates the branded experience. That’s the experience we, as fans, have each time we watch.
Coach Boeheim’s role is to engage his players, hold them accountable for their actions, and set clear expectations for the team. When a team of engaged players work together to perform these behaviors and expectations, they provide fans the ultimate experience and this is when we fall in love. For this reason we intently watch every March to see our favorite team work together to win the championship and provide us with a weekend filled with brackets, bantering, and beers. It is the experience the teams provide their fans that keep us engaged….. so engaged that vacation days are used , friendly wagers are placed, and people turn to social media as a means to express their emotions through out each game.
If I haven’t totally twisted your view on March Madness and you’re not completely disinterested in this weekend now; think about how they quantify that experience. How does the team measure and manage the experience they provide their fans? Ticket sales, TV ratings, and even recruiting are ways they can measure and manage. Successful teams fill seats, get people to tune in, and recruit players who understand the mindset and behaviors of the team and fit the culture.
The reason I feel like businesses could learn from these teams is because the experience I talk about above is actually the experience we help design for our clients and their customers. Its a system and it works.
In our upcoming book ENGAGED! Outbehave the Competition and Create Customers for Life, Gregg Lederman outlines a specific system that can prove successful in any company, a Living the Brand System. The Living the Brand system is an approach for defining, reminding others about, and quantifying the experience employees and customer have. No one person owns this system – it’s a system that works across all departments and every job function can own it. In order to implement a Living the Brand system, a company must do 3 things:
- Define the branded experience
- Remind employees about the delivery of the experience setting clear expectations and holding everyone accountable
- Quantify the experience and link it to financial results.
So think about the companies or teams you love, the ones that fully engage you, that make you want to come back again and again, why is that ? These companies and teams (whether they know it or not) have a Living the Brand system in place and they know how to outbehave their competition and create customers/fans for life.
Happy March Madness! Go Orangemen!