Friday, January 16, 2009

Brand of Steel

Throughout history, this brand has matched the hard-nosed work ethic of a city and its people. It's most loyal supporters describe the brand as “strong,” “tough” and “hard-working,”.

This weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers will demonstrate why they are more than just a good football team.

They're also a powerful brand.

The Steelers franchise traditionally ranks as one of the strongest team brands in its local market compared with scores of other professional sports teams in consumer surveys. According to the 2007 Turnkey Team Brand Index, the Steelers ranked first among 122 team brands in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL with data supplied by more than 12,000 fans in 47 markets. In the 2008 survey, Steelers ranked third.

Values such as “family-oriented”, “blue collar,” and "stability" have created a brand whereby the team actually defines the city. "Pittsburgh" and the "Steelers" have always gone together ... much like "Bud" and "Wiser".

Probably the single biggest reason is the long-term vision instilled by the ownership of the Rooney family which dates back to the early 1930's. Current head coach Mike Tomlin is only the third person to occupy that job over the last 38 years as he follows a trail of glory blazed by predecessors, Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll.

Like the Yankees in baseball, the Celtics in basketball, and the Canadiens in hockey, the Steelers embrace a rich championship and Hall-of-Fame history to create an internal brand in their locker room before it charges out on to the gridiron at Heinz Field before 70,000 "Terrible Towel" waving fans.

Myron has passed on but the power of the "Terrible Towel" lives on in Steeler fans such as 90-year old Agnes Falls

And there are no shortage of companies lining up these days to jump on the Steelers "brandwagon":

This Sunday, the finalists for Super Bowl XLIII will be decided with Arizona Cardinals hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in a "Battle of the Birds" to determine the NFC champion. The AFC title will be contested in Pittsburgh where the Steelers and their fans will prove to be less than congenial hosts to the visiting Baltimore Ravens.

Don't be surprised to see a Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl matchup, February 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.

"I like being the hunter rather than the hunted" BEN ROETHLISBERGER

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