A Lesson for Business During March Madness


It’s that time of year- The March Madness college basketball tournament.  If you’re not a college basketball fan, keep reading. Don’t worry, what I’m going to share should still make sense.

Like a lot of people, every year I complete a bracket of the participating teams to predict a winner. But, in truth, I barely pay attention to college basketball during the season.  So how do I choose which team I think will win?

Sometimes I favor teams from my hometown simply because I want to see them win, or the team representing the mid-major conference that my alma mater plays in.

Like most people, I usually just go with the teams I’m most familiar with, or the teams with higher rankings. 

Duke Basketball is the perfect example.  For the first time in decades, Duke did not make the tournament, but had they squeaked into the field of 64 my assumption is that a lot of casual basketball fans would have chosen them to make the Sweet 16. Simply off of name recognition, awareness of their team history, and out of respect for their well-known coach.  Their legacy matters- and people are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt even during a tough season. 

A lot of people choose a product or business the same way. 

There’s comfort in familiarity.  There’s confidence in a track record of success, even if the current task is something new.  Belief in individuals transfers to trust in an organization.

How does a business achieve this?  By playing the long game and promoting their successes along the way.  It’s not by announcing one big new contract, it’s by announcing a steady stream of contract wins over time.  It’s not by creating one single event, it’s by promoting numerous events throughout the year.

One good season or one good story isn’t going to earn long-term loyalty. It’s repetition of actions, over long periods of time, which ultimately breeds public confidence. It’s that awareness and reputation which will sustain a company even during a rough patch.

Finally, allow me to share one last off-topic story simply because it makes me smile every year around this time.  Probably a good 15 years ago or so, a friend of mine had a vasectomy.  He had to book it far in advance because he wanted the timing to coincide with the start of the basketball tournament.  Turns out he had to book early because a lot of guys have the same idea. They figure if they had to sit at home with a bag of frozen peas in their lap for a couple of days, they might as well do it while there were constant basketball games on TV!  



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