By Published On: June 14, 2018

For as long as I can remember, my team has been the New York Yankees. I know, I know. It’s not fashionable to talk about the Yankees here in Minnesota. (Understatement alert!) So, I’ll try not to behave like one of those obnoxious New York transplants who blabbers on and on about their beloved Yankees. This is supposed to be a marketing blog, after all. I also won’t brag that the Yankees are the most successful sports franchise in history (having won 40 Pennants and 27 World Series), or that they’ve got 44 players and 11 managers in the Hall of Fame, or that their all-time winning percentage is the best of any team in baseball. (Sorry, we Yankee fans just can’t help ourselves.)

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah. Marketing.

Which brings me to yet another Yankees accomplishment: The organization owns one of the most successful, famous, and recognizable brands in all of sports.

Even Yankee haters have to admit, when it comes to the Yankees brand, the team has done a lot of things right.

Being consistent, for one. For over 100 years, the team has kept the same classic pinstriped uniform, leveraging their rich heritage by masterfully blending the past with the present. While some teams keep shaking things up, the Yankees pretty much avoid change. They don’t mess with their logo uniform colors. They don’t chase trends or mess with tradition. And while so many players these days look like they’ve taken grooming tips from a Sasquatch, the Yankees have stuck with their clean-cut appearance policy—established in 1973. It’s all part of their brand. And that kind of consistency is powerful. From the way they look, to the way they play, to the way they market themselves, the Yankees know who they are and what they’re all about.

And so, here’s another thing the Yankees do right: They live their brand promise. More than anything else, the Yankees stand for one key quality—winning.

When it comes to winning, the Yankees do whatever it takes. They’re not afraid to risk hundreds of millions of dollars on players who may or may not help them win, or ruthlessly fire popular managers, or create team turmoil all in pursuit of their all-important goal: to win. They live it, breathe it, and make no apologies for it. And love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Yankees brand is crystal clear. And a lot of people respond to that. I mean, who doesn’t want to be associated with a winner? It’s one of the reasons Yankees fans exist all around the world—including countries where people don’t know the first thing about baseball.

That clear, singular, ownable brand position is one of the most valuable assets a brand can possess. What does Nike stand for? The athlete in each of us. Volvo? Safety. BMW? Precision engineering. Apple? Creativity and innovation.

Do you know what your brand stands for?

If not, could you identify it and communicate it more clearly in your marketing? Ideally, what your brand stands for is something that’s both authentic to your company and meaningful to your customers.

Imbue your marketing with that kind of clarity, and you just might have a winning team on your hands.

The NY logo is property of the New York Yankees.

About the Author: Mark Zukor

Branding, marketing and the Coffee Stain Theory: Do you have a stain on your brand?
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