A few weeks back after the NHL lockout was settled, David Friend wrote an article about how the NHL would lose more than $300 million in brand value as the lockout loses fans. He cited Brand Finance, a consultancy that tracks the value of brand names in the real world. The study claims that the Canadian teams would lose $125 million of their brand values as well. The Canadian portion of the study was conducted by Level 5 and claims that 41% of casual fans are feeling more negatively about the sport. It claims they are going back to watch/buy into the game, but with a chip on their shoulder. The study claims that even passionate fans will spend less on tickets and merchandise. I am not sure if you have been to an NHL game since January, but I don’t see many empty seats in Canadian arenas and the merchandise seems to be flying off the shelves. In fact, the initial CBC Hockey Night in Canada post-lockout game on January 19 set a new record for CBC regular season viewing that had not been reached since 2007.
Too often, I see this type of analytics being used to pinpoint reality. It is not reality. It is statistical information. I see brands being advised by their agencies that their campaigns were successful because “87% of those surveyed after the event have a ‘propensity to buy’ your product.” The brand marketing and integration companies put a “brand value” on a property such as a hockey team or charity and then send those organizations out to the market to sell sponsorship based on “brand value.” They need to know the market value of their assets, not that wishy-washy brand value thing!
The true telltale sign of whether the Canadian teams “lose brand value” is not as important as the bottom line. Let’s see where those teams come out in June or at their fiscal year ends. What were their profit levels? How many season tickets have been renewed for 2013-14? How much more beer and merchandise did they sell? How much sponsorship was renewed? Then let’s measure success. In my books, success is not measured by analytics telling an organization that consumers have a propensity to buy their product. It is about whether they buy the product… or not!
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