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Hawthorn what were you thinking?

When Hawthorn Football Club comes onto the ground and go through their banner with their traditional brown and gold stripe jumper you know that they are already three goals in front before the first bounce.

By reputation, respect and pure-skill that jumper alone can already give them a three goal start. The utter fear those stripes of brown and gold places on the opposition supporters can be seen in their faces. More importantly the mental edge they have over the competition teams is enormous in that you can never let your guard down or relax.

So why does Hawthorn last week go out wearing their special indigenous jersey against the West Coast Eagles that has potential to affect the final four in the AFL? I mean no disrespect to the indigenous community as I believe that it should be every day that we celebrate and recognise all cultures in this wonderful country of ours. I am questioning the reasoning for taking away an asset that Hawthorn has when playing for such high stakes.

Brands need to be careful with tinkering with what is known, what is loved, what is respected and what works. Why mess with something that is not broke?

Changing your logo, your business name, your Tagline, your colours is a big move for any brand to deal with. It should be done with careful consideration and planning not just because you have a bored marketing executive that is just trying to justify their pay cheque.

One of the easiest ways to reset or inject new life into a brand is to give it an overhaul, a face-lift or a new look. It is a simple approach to what actually might not be addressing the bigger problem. The reality is that the assets that make up the marketability of the product of service might be just fine but it is the core elements of the product or service that is wrong.

Building brand reputation and trust takes time and there is no immediate results or solutions for changing the look or feel of a brand by changing their appearance. When you do this you are also saying to those that love your brand or respect your brand that this isn’t what is most important to you. That is a dangerous road to take with those that are subscribers to your brand.

It is silly to mess with a brand’s approach that is working now and will work for the future. Your marketing people shouldn’t be thinking about how they can make your brand more in-tune with the next generation but instead see how your brand in its current form can win the new audience or market with ever slight changes.

Hawthorn running out in their non-traditional jersey gave the opposition hope, gave them belief, gave them an opportunity to beat them. The mental game was never fought in fact it was forfeited by Hawthorn by wearing the non-traditional jumper. The years of tradition, the successful years and the club culture of Hawthorn that makes grown men cry was shut down. 25 scoring shots to 9 by the end of the third quarter.

Brands stick with what you know. If it works don’t mess with it. Be open and willing to look at the new developments or trends but remember what got you there in the first place. Dabble and take a punt with new opportunities but never disrespect the brand that your audience has grown to love.

Hawthorn if you want a chance to make it four in a row wear the brown and gold stripes that got you there in the first place. It might seem like a rather minor or even silly suggestion for a team that has been so successful in the way they play football not what they wear. If there’s something that gives you an advantage in football or business, then use it.

Wear the brown and gold!

Nic Hayes is the managing director of Media Stable Australia’s most recognised source of experts and content for media.

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