I played in a competitive volleyball tournament this weekend up in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. This was my first ever mountain tournament, but my 4th outdoor tournament. I played coed doubles with my partner, Brad, and it was our first time playing together. The tournament was hosted by VOTR (Volleyball Of The Rockies). Colorado has a HUGE volleyball culture! We have an unbelievable amount of talent here in Colorado, and a lot of talented players travel here every year to play in our VOTR tournaments. What I’m trying to say is that we are kind of a big deal.
Brad and I started pool play around 9 AM on Sunday morning and played for almost 4 hours straight. We stayed strong throughout the pool play and ended up placing 1st in our pool, so we advanced to the afternoon tournament. It took a couple of hours for the tournament to begin, and we won 2 more games but lost our final game. We took 5th overall out of 90 teams in our division. The day was physically, and emotionally challenging, but we enjoyed every second of it.
While we were in-between games, a VOTR employee was walking around handing out t-shirts to the fans. Even though I had already been given a t-shirt, I found myself desperately wanting the shirt that was being handed out. It’s funny how our minds work with free things. I dismissed the thought as I finished up the tourney, but while we were packing up I saw a couple of girls and even their dog wearing the free VOTR t-shirts! I started to feel that strong desire come back; I needed a free shirt! Come to find out, I was in luck! Fifth place won a prize, and our prize was a t-shirt or hoodie from last year’s tournament. I was stoked.
VOTR holds onto their old memorabilia and then uses it as prizes the year after. That is such great marketing!
I didn’t care what my t-shirt or sweatshirt looked like, as long as it was branded with VOTR volleyball.
This got me thinking about all of the companies we help with trade show display marketing. It is important to brand our companies in a way that speaks to our target market and attracts them to our brand.
I would not have been able to walk up to the prize table and say, “I played in your tournament. Please give me a free shirt.”
Instead, I had to tell them my team finished in 5th place in the B division, and then I was rewarded with a branded shirt.
3 things I learned from VOTR on how to keep your brand HOT:
1. Never give your brand away to your target market for free.
Don’t just give your brand away. Create a brand that is desirable, and hard to acquire without strong effort.
2. Reward bystanders for supporting your brand.
If you have people who support your target customer, then reward them! This will encourage them to be your personal marketers.
3. Create a brand that is worth fighting for.
You have competition everywhere trying to grab your target market’s attention. Don’t forget that. Be a brand that is visible, but not free. Challenge your customer to fight for your brand, and it will be worth it in the long run.
I hope these quick tips helped. If you play volleyball then check out the tournaments available at VOTR, or look forward to a free t-shirt if you go to support a friend.
Thanks for reading!