The Batting Order of Brand Associations



Baseball season is coming. It’s right around the corner. The sound of the ball off the bat, the smell of fresh grass, the taste of watered-down over-priced beer, and the roar of the crowd from the home team’s cleanup hitter crushing one over the left-field fence will all be here in mere days. Now that’s an experience! I remember how much I looked forward to April 1st as a kid. Growing up in Chicago, I even remember listening to the White Sox season opener, while they were playing on the road in California, on an old transistor radio walking home from grade school in the last snow storm of the year.

Speaking of baseball, I often think of the importance of brand associations as a batting order. In other words, when we are developing our well-branded marketing messages how do we want to lead off? Many times we start off with what we as executives or managers think is important which many times in our industry is the ubiquitous “credit union difference.” I spoke about that in last month’s article. Again, while it’s an important brand association, in the hearts and minds of our members it’s not necessarily the differentiator.

So to keep with my theme of sports, let’s use an analogy of a batting lineup for a baseball team. A good coach will set his lineup to score right off the bat, pun intended, in the first inning.

So let’s think of brand associations as batters.  Let’s also use the institution that brought up the “credit union difference” in my last article as an example. To keep them anonymous let’s refer to them as Gotham City First Responder FCU.  Hey I was a Batman fan growing up too. Don’t judge.

A traditional lineup for an advertisement might look something like this:

  1. We’re a credit union.
  2. We have been around for 144 years.
  3. We have an array of products and services that you’re gonna love.
  4. We have a special rate on balance transfers on our gold credit card for the next 45 days.
  5. We serve first responders in a five-county area.

I won’t even bother to go through six through nine of the batting order since this credit union already has three outs and is out of the inning. Look at the box score:

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