With apologies to Hank Williams, Jr. “Are you ready for some…mind-share?”

The NFL is big and getting bigger by building mind-share with its existing fans, and perhaps more importantly, with potential consumers. This month they’re doing it by coloring the game pink for breast cancer awareness. Though the color won’t have any effect on any games, it very well may enhance the perception of the game, and its mind-share with existing fans and with the women who might be casual fans.

Most of us know the statistics of breast cancer- it affects a lot of mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. And most NFL football fans love a woman who has been or might someday be affected by breast cancer. So the NFL knows that beating breast cancer is important to its male fan base and even more so to its potential fan base of women, who were 58 million of the 138 million Americans who considered themselves NFL fans last year.

If what is already the biggest game in American sports could have as many female fans as it does male fans, imagine the marketing potential!  So consider how the NFL is getting there:  while there are tweaks to the product every season, from the rule book to strategies to player accountability, it’s literally outside the lines, through building mind-share, that  the NFL is growing its market share.

Last year the NFL introduced its anti-childhood obesity campaign, “Play 60,” to engage kids in committing to sixty minutes of daily exercise. While kids’ health is way outside the lines of the NFL game, it is way inside the hearts and minds of millions of parents and grandparents who are fans of the game. Same for breast cancer awareness and research.

The impact on fans and potential fans?

The NFL’s fan base and revenue continue to grow dramatically. Former NFL marketer Rick Dudley says, “people have been saying the NFL has topped out for decades, and every cycle they produce more revenue. I track the success of the game to the number of fans it enjoys.”

Wouldn’t you track your station’s success the same way? Finding what’s meaningful to your listeners and potential listeners, outside the lines of your regular broadcast product, can bring the strains of Hank Jr.’s Monday Night Football theme to mind, with a slight modification are you ready for some mind-share?

–Fletcher Keyes*

*Fletcher Keyes is a long-time morning show personality,  radio programmer and new contributor to dmr’s The End Result.



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