Behind The Ropes at Augusta National and The Masters

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Green Jacket
The Masters Augusta National Green Jacket

The Green Jacket. Source Golf Digest

For golfers, particularly in the northern and colder climates, this is a great time time of year. We immerse ourselves in the Masters experience. Non-golfing friends and partners hear The Golf Channel in the background and before long, they get to know the players and the shot strategies though subconscious listening.

As I look ahead to the weekend  – and in particular to the last 9 on Sunday (the best 3 hours in sports), I also think of the how incredible it is that Augusta National has created such a powerful and unique brand. Even Bubba Watson was brought to tears yesterday when talking about the importance of the “green Jacket”  There are lessons in here for any business and particularly for those offering a professional service experience.

I had a chance to be behind the ropes at Augusta National, explore the inside of the clubhouse, spend time in one the private cabins, and walk with players from the clubhouse to the practice facility.  I even stood right next to Phil Mickelson, Dave Pelz and Phil’s caddie, Bones, as they talked strategy on the Saturday morning. An incredible experience for me.

Can you incorporate  some of the experience ideas from Augusta National into your own brand positioning?

Consistency. Unlike the other major tournaments in golf, The Masters is always played at Augusta National. This is a private invitational event and it has been run in a highly consistent manner for decades. Improvements are made each year, but the fundamental experience is rooted in its founding principles and the legacy of Bobby Jones.

What would this mean at your company? Do you deliver a consistent experience? Is it rooted in core values that are enduring? Does it create an emotional connection?

Exclusivity.  Of course, is hard to get an invitation to play at the Masters – but it is also hard to get a ticket to go to the Masters. And, not all tickets are the same. Some tickets offer clubhouse access others are providing access only to the grounds.  People really want to go to the Masters – even more when it is a hard ticket to get. Yet, Augusta National, while exclusive, is also very focused on delivering a compelling experience.

Can you invite clients to get behind the ropes?  Are there “velvet rope” strategies that you can incorporate? How can you make your brand and service more desirable by being exclusive?

Experience.  OK I need to admit this. I actually ran at Augusta – only for about 10 yards, but I ran. There is no running at Augusta National. I wanted to get into position to see a player tee off at number 10. A gentleman from the club tapped me on the shoulder politely and said, “Sir, there is no running allowed at Augusta National”. Embarrassed.  Augusta National has thought of about everything. The TV experience is like no other – with very limited advertising and long term sponsorships. Sandwich wrappers and napkins are colored green so that, in the event a patron (that’s right Augusta has no “crowds” or “fans” we are “patrons”) drops a wrapper by accident, there will be no glaring white object set against the pristine green grass.

How does your brand deliver an experience? Are you thinking of the details?

Enjoy the golf this weekend and, while you are watching the play,  take a minute to consider how you might enhance your brand and deliver your clients an experience that is more like getting behind the ropes at Augusta National!

 

 

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