We Must Protect This House! Your Brand, Your Future

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Marketing, PR, Strikeforce, UFC

Ok, I admit I’m getting bad at this.  I switched to a weekly format as I thought it would be easier than cranking out daily content.  Truth is, I think I was better at getting multiple posts out than this larger single-serving style.  Oh well, a guy has to work and pay the bills right?  This time I swear it’s the last time I apologize to you…

Whether you are a fighter or an organization, your brand is the key to your success.  If you have a brand loyalty, respect and quality – you’ll strive no matter the industry (economy pending).  However, if there is a crack in the foundation and you don’t think you need to address it, the home you’ve worked so hard to build will fall on your head.  With the UFC now (unarguably) the biggest game in the MMA town, there is all the more reason to care and protect the brand its worked so hard to build.

Build the Brand

UFC is doing things right with the Fox deal. It is taking a true consumer approach. It is not making assumptions about the fan base its already built, but planning for the masses that may never have watched a UFC fight.  I’ve enjoyed the early pushes on Fox.  (I may not like watching my beloved Sox on national networks, but this definitely made it worth while).  In addition to prepping for a 101 update on the sport, Dana White & the UFC brass are busting out a title fight on its first national card – and the heavyweight division no less (Sorry, no offense Bantams).  Junior Dos Santos will get his crack at the returning champ Cain Velasquez in front of the Fox viewing public.  This is a HUGE opening salvo for the UFC.  They are taking no chances in showing new fans why they are the largest global MMA brand.

While the original plan may have been to air two fights during the Nov 12 broadcast, having a Title fight be the sole live bout will allow the UFC to showcase top-level talent and hook any tentative fans from the opening bell.   And hey, if the fight ends early (I mean any HW can KO the other, let’s be honest) the night’s preliminary card could still air during the hour-long broadcast.  This is a great business move.

In a similar move, another battle of the big men has been announced.  The return of Brock Lesnar has been slated for Dec 30 in the 2011 close out card against STRIKEFORCE heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem.  This fight will answer many questions for fans – is Brock back in form after surgery? And, is Overeem the real deal or has he been fed fish the last few years at SF & DREAM?

Protect the Brand

Ignoring cracks in a brand can lead to identity crisis....

If you read this blog enough, you know I do not like the Diaz brothers. I don’t like their attitudes, behavior or self entitlement in the ring.  By now, you probably know the “super fight” with GSP has been cancelled.  After no-showing two separate media events to promote the fight Dana White pulled Diaz from the main event.  This was an essential move for brand protection for the UFC.  Diaz is the crack in the foundation and if this had been ignored, he could have done more damage to a major PPV card – or future cards.  For Diaz, it is just another example of bad business.

However, in another showing of brand repair, White showcased two moves to keep this debacle from turning into a PR nightmare.  First, he kept his needed “Champion vs Champion” main event by slotting in the much deserved Carlos Condit.  Condit the final WEC champion was never dethroned, but was certainly delayed upon his entrance to the UFC.  Since his battle with Martin Kampman he has been on a tear through the welterweight division.  This will be a fight that fans will truly see two of MMA’s elite. I think had it remained GSP v Diaz, it would have been a lop sided and 5 round beating of the Stockton native.

The UFC did not remove Diaz from the card altogether though.  He will now face Condit’s original opponent – BJ Penn.  This fight is huge for both fighters and for fans.  Those hankering for Diaz will get it, and those looking for someone to silence him  will receive it in the form of “The Prodigy.”

What do you think of these events?  Has the UFC  reinforced its brand foundation – or simply added putty to future problems?

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Comments
  1. Angel says:

    I’ve been required to start a blog for one for my written comm. class and chose to do it about the UFC. I should take example from how/what you blog as well as the way you phrase certain things-I’ve got a LONG ways to go.
    Either way-I also want to say I very much am in agreement with how your reasoning is protecting the brand-initially I feared you were going to be blogging about how advertising on Fox was damaging to the brand. I’m a fairly new fan-as my fiance got me into it and it took me a while before I was “official”-but now I want to be just as informed and I’m certainly just as excited for the explosion I expect to see from such an opening…and on regular network television.
    I too, strongly dislike the Diaz brothers and I think they are disrespectful and Nick should find a new job (and is SO lucky he still has one since UFC practically owns “this town”)-oversees. Maybe he will follow-through with some of the shit he always seems to be talking but never showing.
    I found it interesting how you laid out Dana protecting the brand-he is quite the business mad and the UFC didn’t get to where it is today and where I imagine it will be tomorrow without knowing what he’s doing. You’re blog has just reinforced my feelings on that.
    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Angel. Glad you enjoyed the read and hope it helps with your own blogging efforts. Good luck!

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