Welcome to our Business Publication - Last week the Iowa Stars made if official. They are outta here. Headed to Austin, Texas. Davey Allison and the gang have already cleaned out the lockers. While I've been in mourning...
It was a good idea.
And it was also good timing. The Iowa Stars had a good run for the first two years. The bottom dropped out this year and we landed in last place in the division.
But...I don't write about hockey. We do marketing and advertising and public relations. The stuff that really matters.
And from all of those fronts this was a decision that had to be made...now. Here's why:
Timing - We'll have another AHL hockey team in Des Moines but we're going to need time to name them and brand 'em. If the decision were to have come much later 2008/2009 would have been a tough sell. It may be that already.
Branding - Conventional wisdom says we should not tie ourselves too closely to another NHL team so the name should be "neutral" I'm not that convinced. The other thing the future team needs to consider if the negative brand left behind. There were lots of "green and gold" sold (see the guy with the jacket?) that is just one negative. The other? The Iowa Barnstormers. Last Saturday night there were 10,800 fans in "The Well". We've got to come up with a way to bring more excitement to hockey and it's got to be done quickly. Here are some other quick branding problems we've got to overcome:
- High Prices - Season Tickets are $20 each. There are 40 home games. Do the math. Two dozen french fries - $4.00. A family of TWO can drop $100...easy.
- Fair Food - I love the State Fair...but something has to change at "The Well". Funnel Cakes and Roasted Nuts....we can do better.
- Get Wild - Hockey is a full contact sport. I've seen people ejected because they were "too loud". Please.
- Poor Cross Promotion - Imagine giving away food certificates to Prairie Meadows "good only during the evening of Saturday, January 23rd" Which just so happened to be a home game night. What are you thinking?
- The "Out-of-Towner's" - The folks that make up the marketing and development arm of The Iowa Stars all came from "someplace else". And you could spot that a mile away. Want to win fans locally? Get local.
In the end, this was a classic example of poor marketing and branding. So, we need the time to build. Will I be as solid behind another team? Don't know...we've not yet started the process. Besides, I'm a little grumpy these days.
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're just sore nobody listened to us three years ago. See ya guys...