basketball teams and brands

brand-as-business bit:  I love how some of The New York Times’ best business stories aren’t found in the Business section.  Case in point:  The Sports section’s recent recap of the 76ers turnaround.   It retraces private equity titan Josh Harris’s moves to rejuvenate the august team – and in doing so, it provides helpful pointers for any business leader who’s taken up the charge to get a brand on track:

  • authentically participate in the community – “…Fans prefer that owners have some allegiance to their city. [Harris] has attended nearly every home game,” and has also emphasized his family’s long ties to Philadelphia.
  • use fans to create more fans – “[CEO Adam  Aron]  invited fans to apply for free seats behind the basket as long as they dress up in Philadelphia-themed outfits.
  • emphasize the brand history – “Aron even bought the court on which Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in Hershey, Pa., giving pieces away to fans on March 2, the 50th anniversary of Chamberlain’s feat.
  • personally engage with fans – “Aron regularly jousts with fans on Twitter, sending out dozens of posts a day from his account, @sixersceoadam. After a recent loss, Aron commiserated with a fan who said he had punched his wall. ‘I put a dent in my wall too,’ Aron wrote.”

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