A brand can be a powerful thing. It can alter an economy, start a movement, or invigorate a starving fanbase. When two brands collide – that’s when the magic happens. We use the term “brand rub” to describe the impact one brand can have on another. This can be a paid effort or an organic blessing. Two recent phenomena in the sporting world are prime examples.
First, we have the Deion Economy. Coach Prime has built a personal brand that goes back to his college days at Florida State University. Flash forward to 2020 when he accepted the head coaching position at Jackson State University. Over the nine days following the announcement of Sanders’ hiring, the Tigers’ athletic department’s marketing and promotional value increased by an estimated $19 million. Not only did Coach Prime lead the Tigers to the SWAC Championship, he led the media’s attention to Jackson and HBCUs across the country. The hype was real, with home games leading to an estimated $24 million economic impact for the city of Jackson in 2022.Then he took that momentum – and his sons – to Colorado where a dormant but powerful brand was waiting to be revived.
The University of Colorado didn’t have the money in hand, but they offered Deion Sanders a five-year, $29.5 million contract because they knew what was coming: The Deion Effect. The estimated return on value just one month into Deion’s first season as Head Coach is a staggering $280 million (and that’s a conservative estimate).
Sales in the online team store have increased 2,544% since last year. They sold out season tickets for the first time in 27 years. Their games are being watched by tens of millions of sports fans. And their players are among the highest paid in NIL deals. The University of Colorado’s strategy for a “paid brand rub” with Deion Sanders continues to pay off for both parties.
Now let’s switch gears to the pros. Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in football history. Safe to say, he’s made a name for himself – or so he thought. Enter Taylor Swift. When word got out that the NFL’s All-American boy was dating the world’s biggest pop star, things escalated more quickly than anyone could have imagined.
The NFL and Travis Kelce were exposed to a whole new audience: Swifties. The Kansas City Chiefs’ social followers grew by over 200,000, and Kelce’s personal account grew by over 400,000. The Chiefs-Jets game drew 27 million viewers, making it the most-watched Sunday program since the Super Bowl. And let’s be honest, the Jets are tough to watch.
The Kelce-Swift craze has settled in recent weeks but the romance is still going strong (as of writing this blog). And it’s one of the best examples of an “organic brand rub” in recent history.
At Ramey, we look for every opportunity to elevate our brands in the minds of consumers. Collaborations between brands, either paid or organic, can have an incredible impact on reach. The large-scale examples I shared are unattainable to most brands, but these efforts can be as simple as a social collaboration. By aligning with a brand that shares your same values, you can gain incredible exposure to a new audience and vice versa.
The brand rub is truly a brand win-win.
Photo illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images