Lately, I've been exerting mental energy over what it takes to ensure a marketing campaign, no matter the medium, is sustainable. The word "sustainability" has come to mean something different to everyone it seems...it has been hijacked by the evil buzzworders. We need a sustainable definition of sustainable. This morning while reading Brains On Fire's latest post
my brain literally lit on fire when both sustainability and hockey were addressed. A few days ago, Geno
from Brains On Fire summed up sustainability
as being real
"when the community...can continue without having to stimulate conversation and the overall movement with continued funding to stimulate conversation."
You should go read that post.
The idea here is something we've been blogging about as of late. It's the idea of relational marketing.
Conversations are taking place, it's just a question of where and how to participate. A truly sustainable marketing initiative occurs when the creators are no longer required to catalyze conversation--be it through funding or other means. A campaign is sustainable when conversations spark other conversations, which spark additional conversations, and before you know it the "campaign" has become a living, breathing brand. So why hockey?Spike decided to give a tangible example of Geno’s description of sustainability, and he used the Hartford Whalers Fan Club. Remember that time the Whalers moved to North Carolina? Just when you thought a sports team couldn’t have a worse name, they became the Hurricanes. Nice work Connecticut. This post is getting long, so if you're still reading I’ll let Spike
tell the rest of the story:
“[Even after the Whalers left]…the Hartford Whalers Booster Club lives on. And strongly, I might add. They hold regular meetings, have frequent newsletters and get this: show up at Carolina Hurricane games in their Whalers garb and cheer on the team. Talk about sustainability. If you build a movement in such a way that it allows people to own it and use their own talents and gifts to express their passions, then it’s hard to go wrong.”
It’s that last sentence that struck me. I mean who would have thought the Whalers Fan Club would still be going strong? It’s is all about enabling conversations and empowering people to lend their talents to things they care about. Long live the Whalers.