Gaining Brand Loyalty: A Golfer’s Perspective

Hole in one. Golf. Brand.

It’s no secret that I love to play golf—to the point where I played when it was 45 degrees outside with wind gusting at 20 MPH. (Who does that?)

I’m not sure what I like so much about it. I have played since I was young and just feel a certain connection to the game.

I know a lot of it is because I love to be outdoors, but I don’t fully understand the rest. Maybe it’s the fact that I have invested so many hours into practice and getting better. Maybe it’s the opportunity to use some of my creative talents to manipulate the golf ball and get it where I want it. Either way, I am the ideal target for golf advertising.

I love the game, I love researching and trying new products, and I constantly read about the latest tech trends and golf teaching tips. I even have a favorite brand of clubs and balls (which both happen to be Titleist).

I have used Titleist irons and balls since I was in high school. They have always been the pinnacle of quality golf equipment in my mind. I have never found equipment I like better, and I never thought I would want to switch equipment companies. Yes, they are often the most expensive products, but I always found a way to get used ones that were still in great shape and cheaper. In my mind, it is Titleist or nothing. (Did I get that across well enough?)

So, when a company like TaylorMade/Adidas Golf gets my attention with their latest product line and causes me to consider changing loyalties, I take notice. (As a marketer myself, I consistently examine commercials and ads to determine their effectiveness on me. Let’s just say I am aware of it.)

So here I am watching golf on weekends and reading my monthly Golf Digest magazine, and I am loving everything TaylorMade puts on the market. Products, colors, styles, fonts, designs, spreads, print ads, videos, new product launches are all grabbing my attention. I loved the marketing and started to feel myself being drawn to their products.

I even said to my brother-in-law when he was searching for clubs, “When I buy new clubs, I will probably seriously look at TaylorMade, so you should too.” (Screeching halt: What did I just say?) By the way, he did buy all TaylorMade clubs, clothing, balls—everything.

So how did they get me? What caused the change in my mind?

  1. They offered a great and unique product.
    Their latest product line included a breakthrough in technology—a slot in the sole of the woods and irons that allow the face to compress more and increase the overall distance by 17 yards for the top players. This technology also made its way into the irons, which allows them to be more forgiving when you hit a poor shot and also increases distance. No other company on the market had offered anything like this before. I actually went out, hit the clubs, and loved them.
  2. They spent a lot of money on sponsoring players.
    But they didn’t just pick any players; they selected the younger, more attractive, athletic, powerful, and exciting players to watch—Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, etc. These are the players who get the attention of the younger golf crowd. They play a style of golf that is more like my own, and I can relate to their struggles on the course.
  3. Style.
    The colors and styles of the new products were different and unique. All driver heads were black or dark gray until TaylorMade made theirs white. The accent colors of green/black and gold/black just look modern and cutting-edge. They even paired it all with a new clothing line that offers unique and modern styling, colors, and more athletic cuts. The idea was “You look good when you wear our clothes and play with our clubs. Other people think you are a great player.”
  4. They offered product reviews and videos.
    Being a golf nerd (there, I said it), I wanted to see for myself if this “new technology” was legitimate. I read all there was to read. I watched all the videos about their research and production and how the products actually out-performed others on the market. I became educated on the product before I even tried one.
  5. Marketing, marketing, marketing.
    I cannot believe the amount of money they must have spent getting their products everywhere anyone could see them. It seemed like every commercial break included two commercials for TaylorMade. They had spots on Golf Channel, ESPN, and CBS. They even sponsored a whole online tournament broadcast so their products were the only ones seen.

I was so inundated with their products and “how great they perform” that I found myself sucked in. This marketing plan was so in-depth and well planned that even a marketer like myself got caught up in it.

All of this to say—take a few pages from TaylorMade’s book. Offer a great product, then have a specific strategy to implement it. Take time and care to line up other new products with it, offer additional values, prove that you are an expert in your field, and spend a little money getting your name out there.

If you do a good job, you just may find someone as loyal as me considering changing to your product—and for good reason.

For the record, I still love Titleist and feel a lot of emotional discord when I think about buying another brand (that tells you how well Titleist did with me), but I will try TaylorMade irons and woods and have every intention of giving them a fair side-by-side comparison. I never thought I’d say that!

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Dustin Hickle
Director of Social Media
Learn more about Dustin!

 

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