Getting Away From Your Bread and Butter

Bread and ButterIf you watched the Cowboys-Packers game last night, you saw a textbook example of a a very successful group losing sight of what has made them successful.

And it wasn’t the Cowboys.

As the Sturminator details on this post, the Packers have made their way to the top of the NFC this year not by drilling long pass after long pass, but by nailing the short routes and letting their receivers take over with their league-leading yards after catch. But that’s not what you saw in the first half last night. Instead, you saw them throwing rainmakers one after another, going for the jugular in a situation that didn’t call for it and from a team that has no business doing it. The only thing I think is that they were trying to exploit Roy Williams in the secondary, and I can’t blame them there. But it didn’t work.

Since this is blog mostly dedicated to marketing, I hope you see where this is going. When it comes down to it, the Packers had a momentary lapse in branding last night. Most companies experience this on a regular basis. You forget what makes you good, what makes you stand out, what got you where you are, what’s getting you where you’re going and what people think of when they think of you. It’s easy to do. It’s tempting to do. But it’s always a mistake.

The good groups recognize it fairly early and get back on track. The Packers looked like the Packers last night in the second half – it was just too late. The bad groups take one step away from their brand position, only to take another to try to correct it, only to continue until they’re as confused as to who they are, and so are their customers. (To continue the football analogies, I would say see the Arizona Cardinals right now – they aren’t total failures, but I don’t know how I would categorize them).

Moral of the story: know your bread and butter. Make sure everyone you work with knows it. Build your messages around it. Most of all, get everyone involved committed to it.

When I was in 6th grade, I made the local baseball all-star team. We went to the state level, where we didn’t fair too well. I had used my own bat the entire year, but once we got to state, I was mesmerized by a bat that a fellow player was using. So I started using it. Long story short, I didn’t hit too well during the tournament, and we came home early.

Afterward, I remember my Dad asking why I switched bats. I can’t remember how I answered, but I can remember his response: “But your bat is the one that made you an all-star to begin with.”

At 12 years old, that made all the sense in the world to me. At 30 years old, it still does.


6 responses to “Getting Away From Your Bread and Butter

  1. Who are we? Phelps Dodge. What we gonna do?

  2. Brett,

    Couldn’t you also say this about the NFL’s decision to only show the game on the NFL network? I happen to have that station, but I know many do not. This decision seems to depart from what NFL fans expect.

    I guess the whole game last night was really about marketing.

  3. 30? Man, you’re old…

  4. CWD – “Take it out of town.”

    Bill – You’re dead on. I’ve got a post on the works with that already. I’m curious to see if this season has been “successful” for the NFL Network, for the Dish Network, and who’s determining success.

    Few4th – Shut up.

  5. Pingback: “Coming Soon” = Not Our Specialty « Brett’s Blog

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