Those, native to Philadelphia, are no strangers to professional sports teams. Philly's got a couple of great ones, the Flyers among them. In attempts to exorcise their playoff opponent, the 'Flyguys' were eliminated this year. True fans are disappointed but hardly turned off of the team, the brand, the Flyers.
It may not come as readily as looking at a name such as Ford or Folgers, but the Flyers are a brand, a business too. They have consumers, just like Ford and Folgers; except in the realm of sports 'marketing,' consumers are called 'fans.'
It's an interesting concept. Marketing exists for sports teams, yet the heavy lifting is done by the 'service' itself, the performance of players. For only one team per year in the NHL, does the service make due on its original promise, to 'go all the way.' All but one teams' mass of fans is ultimately disappointed to some degree. But that's okay. There's always next year. The 'fans' are okay with that. They're okay with the trying even though for most, it doesn't end in triumph. That's interesting.
Flyers fans are fans of the game. The 'service' is supplied by the players. The players have a pure love for what they do. The players played before there was an NHL or Flyers in their personal lives. Such purity is pretty easy to market. The players' abilities speak idly, just as any business' services or products should be able to stand alone.
What is your business' level of purity? Is it comparable to that of natural-born players? I came across a quote earlier while working on today's previous copywriting post:
"The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can't help it."
It's tongue-in-cheek, yes, but true. I (literally) have a choice; yet, I kinda don't; writing is me. It makes a lot of sense for me. It comes naturally. Such a true passion makes it easy for me to market myself as a writer. The writing (hopefully) 'speaks' for itself. A product/service should be able to do so. Such a dynamic is not putting the cart before the horse.
Marketing could never take the place of the 'horse.' You can't market a 'lame' product or service; the marketing can't create such inertia. Sure, a business can try; yet, such images (and such campaigns) elicit some chuckles, don't they?
Of course, it's horrible to see your team lose. But the players will train harder and get better; because, they have no choice. It's what they (truly want to) do. Will it guarantee a Cup next year? The odds are against them and their faithful fans. So, why gravitate toward the business, the brand, the Flyers? We'll keep watching as long as the players keep doing what they love, despite the road bumps and disappointments.
True passion inspires faithful followers. The passion represented in a resulting service/product is really marketable within itself. The marketing part only warrants the reception of the market. The marketing can't 'play the game' for the players; it can only illuminate the passion which was always there.