“Why” Into “We:” Building Brand Affinity

October 5, 2021

Chad Reynolds, Sporting KC


Session Recording and Slide Deck


Focus Marketing on Brand Identity

If you can focus your marketing around your brand identity (in other words, your brand story) you can create brand advocates. If you make your brand about your story (not your product), you give your customers a story to tell about you; this is how you create brand advocates. 


(1:33) Don’t Sell the Product. Sell the Story.

The ancient Greeks were great storytellers. Pliny The Younger, a revered philosopher, identified the connection between people and brands when explaining why he could not get into sports. He describes that fans cheer not for the players but for the clothes the players wear. 

“It is the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different parties were to change colours, their different partisans would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men and horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their might.” – Pliny The Younger, Rome, AD 109


(2:50) Marketing is Problem Solving

Marketers are problem solvers.

For example, case studies start with a problem. In sports, the problem they are solving is how to put butts in seats. Players jump to different teams, retire, or sometimes teams jump cities. So, how do you create a next level of fandom? An environment where people care more about the clothes — the different teams — and not the individual elements? How can you get people to care more about the brand than the people? 

If you can make the customers say something, you make them say “We.” This applies to all industries (not just sports.) 


(6:14) Start with Your Why

We are all storytellers at heart. If you focus your story on your “Why,” you can create advocates who talk about your brand the same way you do. If you can make your customers feel something, you can make them say “We.”

Don’t just sell your product. Sell your Why. Sell your story. Stories are rooted in memories and emotions. An experience is so much more than just watching a sports game. It can be the state change from the excitement of buying tickets, to the distraught of discovering they were counterfeit tickets, to amazement that there are only two legitimate tickets left to buy, to the joy of watching with your own eyes that your team won the game. 

People keep coming back for the moments and the memories. 


(19:04) The Difference Between Selling a Product and a Story

A product is objective and rational. 

Objective: A person needs a product or they don’t need it. 

Rationale: The product is good or bad. 


A story, by nature, is subjective because it is emotional. If you can focus your marketing around the story (the emotional aspect) you will find people rationalize the story over the actual product. They will prioritize the emotional decision over the rational one. Rational decisions don’t create brand advocates. If you can tap into the emotion, you can create advocacy. 

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin