By Victoria Dolan
Most basketball fans can sum up this year’s NCAA basketball tournament in one word: surprising. Losses by Duke University and Ohio State University in the first round resulted in real “March Madness” and broken brackets for many avid basketball fans. Whether you researched team histories, banked on expert opinions or viewed every game personally, there were not many advantages to be had building your brackets this season.
Depending on current standings, predictions and status quos can hurt PR and marketing strategies too. Here are some lessons that translate from the basketball court to the communications world:
Leverage your victories.
Relish in the glory but don’t let your winner’s high distract from building relationships or converting customers. Awards, media mentions and successful rankings are the perfect time to reach out to nonbelievers and show them why your product or service beats the competition. After UCONN’s victory over Michigan State, the team President Obama had picked to win the national title, @UCONNHuskies tweeted: “Sorry about busting your bracket @BarackObama… We have room on our bandwagon if you’re interested.” A little humor never hurt anyone, right? Engaging with them then might not convert them right away, but it can help build a better relationship in the long run.
Just because you are seeded #1 does not guarantee winning the title.
Michigan State was seeded #4 and was defeated by UCONN who was seeded #7. Kentucky was seeded #8 in the Midwest Region and has made it to the Final Four. Your product or service may be accredited “the best” in the industry today, but tomorrow is another day and there’s a good chance that the competition is trying to show that they are just as good, if not better, than you. Continuously innovate and challenge yourself to exceed your customers’ expectations because being too comfortable with your current bragging rights can lead to failure in the end.
Be aware of ALL your competition.
Know, observe and track all of the teams you’re playing against. Today’s underdog could be tomorrow’s fiercest rival. Follow their marketing campaigns, new product releases and developments, news coverage and social media interactions. Keeping tabs on their strategies will not only show you what works and doesn’t work, but will also keep you a step ahead of the game.
Photo courtesy of Luis Blanco’s Flickr photostream.