Influence and Authenticity; Golf’s Pyramid-Part II

Authenticity of Influence

In my prior post we briefly discussed the basics of Golf Equipment’s Traditional Pyramid of Influence. What is it? How has it changed? Are handicaps the best way to segment the golf equipment market? In Part II we’ll look at some of the reasons for why the Traditional Pyramid can work…and why it isn’t always so.

At its core, the Traditional Pyramid begins with successful product placement and usage by touring professionals. However, most significant golf brands have at least one (more likely a few or many) players using some of their product professionally, so why does tour success with Brand A create a near tsunami of interest and product sales, yet success by Brand B makes barely a ripple in the pond? What separates a successful tour strategy from one that fails to resonate? Frequently it boils down to one word: “Authenticity.”

If you take the time to go online and seek out articles about “Brand Authenticity” your mind will go numb before you get through even 10% of the available options. However, most brand authenticity experts agree on some basic principals:

  1. Authentic brands need to feel genuine, not forced or “fake”. Think about the advent of “Fake News” and the jaundiced eye many Americans cast toward media that is not their own. You never want to be the Fake News of your product category.
  2. Authentic brands connect and build a relationship with their consumers, who are frequently “evangelists” for the brand (sounds a lot like the Pyramid at work?). And building a relationship doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time.
  3. Authentic brands have a consistency of message, regardless of where the communications is received (Digital, Print, TV, Social, Point of Sale, etc.). And frequently there are a variety of people in different disciplines within a company responsible for crafting those messages, so consistency is not as easy as it might sound.
  4. Authentic brands are honest and transparent, as opaqueness creates a lack of trust. How many brands are torpedoed by leaks or discoveries of previously unknown data that indicate a brand was trying to “hide” something. Even when the hidden information might be innocuous, that lack of transparency can seriously damage the brand.
  5. Authentic brands are reliable, what they say is what they deliver. Better to under promise and over deliver than to make the mistake in the other direction.

Does your favorite brand of golf equipment engender these principals? Do they deliver on their product promises? If you think about the successful brands in golf equipment, you can see how they deliver upon these building blocks of Authenticity. Not every golfer will agree that every brand delivers on every point every time…there is often some degree of hyperbole among some product launches…however the vast majority of time the equipment is better than prior generations, and the golfer is the beneficiary of these improvements.

In the end, Brand Authenticity isn’t easy to define, but when you see it you know it. And when you don’t…it can be a Brand Killer.

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