I have always hated having to conceive of my beloved Michigan as a brand; this way of seeing, for me, epitomizes a way of looking at the world that I find poisonous, especially when it comes to institutions and people. And the last thing that I cared to do was look at my school in such a reductive light.
But I dare say that almost anyone would concede that the Michigan "brand" has been deeply damaged by events of the last few weeks, and by the regular humiliations we have visited upon ourselves. It is indeed ironic, but also--for some of us--predictable that this has happened under the leadership of a guy who is famous for saying of the companies he acquired, “If it ain't broke, break it." If I didn't think he was an utterly vacuuos tool, I would totally despise Brandon.
My question is this: Do you think that the damage has been great enough that Harbaugh or Miles might simply not care to be associated with us? Or would removing Brandon and an enormous salary be enough?
My own take is that reviving Michigan looks like a bigger challenge with every passing week. That the best approach may be to canvass the country for some very smart up-and-coming coach, admit we are a reclamation project, and quietly--very quietly--go to work. But the demands of the brand just might not allow that to happen.
A very observant MGoUser (I can’t remember who it was though) mentioned in a thread about the Sugar Bowl Jerseys that ALL of Michigan’s athletics jerseys now sport a Block M, across all sports. This wasn’t always the case. The Block M just found its way onto the “normal” home and away football jerseys this year (on the neck)
Not just with Football Jerseys, we’ve seen Block Ms appearing all over campus like never before. No longer is the “split M”
Acceptable, at this point, it’s Block M or Bust.
Old Scoreboard front:
Old Yost Scoreboard:
Now this isn’t a rant, and I’m not trying to criticize Michigan for the proliferation of the Block M. In fact, Michigan is just following current marketing and branding trends. All over the corporate world the trend is towards the simple. Get rid of words, use symbols, and use them everywhere. Simplicity is king.
A few examples of the corporate world:
Michigan is just following industry trends at this point with the Block M. One simple symbol. Everywhere. Get used to seeing this, it’s not going anywhere.
Sorry if this is too far off topic for this week, but I thought it was a very interesting article. Especially when we debate the various moves Dave Brandon makes to our athletic department.
I think this is a key paragraph:
Tradition? Tradition is great where it's a sellable, marketable commodity. Alabama can sell tradition. Penn State can sell tradition. Michigan can sell tradition. At those places, tradition is the differentiation, but at the schools where it's not? They have to go in the opposite direction. And no one has done that better, or more consciously, than Nike and Oregon, which for the purposes of this conversation are essentially one and the same. Oregon's tradition at this point is the overtly embraced lack of tradition. Change.
The one thing about that is - how well does it sell when you're copying Oregon (like ASU) or Boise State (with colored fields popping up over the country)? Tradition is a brand, and so is "change." But "change" and "bucking the trend" works best if you're original. Otherwise you're just more noise.
It also makes me cringe a bit to hear that "Nike and Oregon are essentially one and the same." I'm happy Michigan doesn't have that relationship with, say, Ford's.
So the Athletic Department will now officially endorse ticket scalping through Stubhub, as long as they get a cut.
I've never used Stubhub, but from what I've read it's usually expensive and Stubhub takes a huge cut (which forces prices even higher). The part that makes me most nervous is this:
Throughout the 2011-12 Wolverine athletic season, StubHub marketing assets will be highly visible across football, basketball and hockey properties for the University. StubHub will host a football hospitality event for the historic, first-ever night game at Michigan Stadium, which is Sept. 10 against Notre Dame. Additionally, StubHub will be featured courtside, on dasher board signs, and via radio promotions. The partnership will round out with MGoBlue.com strategic placements and social media elements.
It's just one step closer to advertising inside Michigan Stadium. And if the Stubhub logo appears on the face of the (probably collectors items) Notre Dame/Nebraska/Ohio State tickets, there will probably be a riot toward Dave Brandon's office.
Not a whole lot of new ground here, but Adam Rittenberg gets an interview with David Brandon about "branding" and the Michigan athletic department.
Money quote for me:
People want Michigan to be on the national stage. They want us to be innovative. They want us to embrace our traditions -- and I do, I'm a part of that tradition -- but I also believe there's a lot of people that want us to be fresh and to be competitive, not just on the field through performance but also in the way we present our program to the nation.