I spoke with the CBC earlier today about the branding challenge that Eugene Melnyk has created for the Ottawa Senators brand. Click here to see CBC story.
Eugene Melnyk has jeopardized his Ottawa Senators brand. It is salvageable, but he needs to act now.
His top priority should be to re-establish trust with fans.
Fans don’t want a letter. They want action. They want a plan.
Placating passionate fans with buzzwords and PR speak is not going to work.
Fans want Eugene Melnyk to put his money where his mouth his. He needs to invest in players, the experience, and the city.
Here’s a sample plan based on comments from fans. We call the plan #YOWNOW :
Brands are entirely psychological. We think of brands as real, concrete things but they are a shared intersubjective meaning.
The negative perceptions among fans of Melnyk are emotional associations that affect the Ottawa Senators brand.
From that perspective, it’s really important for a CEO or brand manager to understand the psychology of how people think. This is crucial for any brand strategy. The Senators brand is associative by human nature, it’s not an entirely rational idea. We as people make emotional connections to things and brands, and this is rarely more true than in sports.
So for Eugene Melnyk, it doesn’t matter if the judgment from fans is fair or reasonable – this is how people come about an idea.
Melnyk needs to take action, be positive, and build excitement with a concrete, fan-first plan. Do that and the Senators will be a positive, exciting brand again. It’s that simple.