Banding Together & Branding Together
So, there are 13 days until opening day for the Yankees in the Bronx. #ButWhosCounting
That’s the hashtagline that the super-sports-brand has been using at their @Yankees twitter account recently as they count down to the big day. And they’ve been illustrating the number of remaining days by tying in to a current or legendary Yankee. Pretty clever. For example, 10 days ago @Yankees tweeted “Donnie Baseball knows” and showed Don Mattingly’s #23.
This pattern continued daily. Here’s the team tweet from 19 days out – for a current player, #19, pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
That got me to thinking: up until this point, @Yankees had been pretty silent about Alex Rodriguez – even after he hit his first big homerun in spring training. (And plenty of people noticed.) Would they completely snub A-Rod when it came to 13 days before opening day? I know there has been considerable controversy surrounding him, but could they really do that?
I became increasingly sure that would happen the closer we got, as some major Yankee personas were omitted. At the 16 days to go mark, Whitey Ford was nowhere to be seen – instead, @Yankees featured the number 16 made out of peanuts. Really? His number was important enough to retire, but he didn’t make the cut for twitter?
And horror of horrors: the next day, there was no reference to Thurman Munson. Instead of honoring his memory with a reference to Munson and his retired #15, a video from current Yankee Garrett Jones (#45), appeared in my twitter feed. Again, really? Nothing against Jones, but this just seemed to be taking us along the path of “it’s ok for us to show the unexpected, so therefore when we don’t show A-Rod for #13 it will be forgiven.”
As a branding specialist and a Yankee fan, I was holding my breath today to see what the @Yankees #ButWhosCounting tweet would hold in store. I’m doubly proud to report that the team did the right thing and featured Rodriguez – and not just in a photo. Rather, they gave him a speaking role. (See the screen cap below, and here’s the link in case you want to hear it for yourself: https://twitter.com/Yankees/status/580368945821163520)
That 7-second video made my day. Why? Because sportsmanship should be key to any professional team’s brand – and like it or not, the Yankees have chosen to keep A-Rod on the team. Therefore, he should be treated as a full-on team member. And let’s not forget: he may well be one of the best hitters baseball will ever know! Personally, I’m rooting for the guy…and I can’t wait to see how he does this season. Only 13 more days… #ButWhosCounting