“For most of the last quarter of a century, the branding of the sports drink of choice for hulking linebackers and towering centers has been handled by women.” –AdAge
Who Knew?The quote above is about Gatorade, a product of company PepsiCo that can be described as “a sports brand closely linked to the National Football League and male athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan” (AdAge). The article goes on to say how unusual it is for women to lead any sector of the sports industry, because as we all know, men dominate that area.
This may sound odd for me to say, but I’ll go ahead: I was raised in a household where my mom was constantly pushing me to outdo the boys. She always told me, as many moms would, “You can do anything that a man does.” I always brushed it off and rolled my eyes a little because it became a cliché statement to hear.
Due to the fact that I am now a senior in college and double majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship (the latter being a major that I have come to realize is dominated by males on Elon’s campus) this advice from my mother has developed more meaning for me. In a brand such as Gatorade, I tend to think of men’s sports a little more. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen many male spokespeople for the brand over the years (such as, as stated above, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan).
Now that I know that a few women have run the brand since 1985, my opinion of the brand has changed. The brand that we know today as Gatorade would be completely different if the brand managers were men. Morgan Flatley, VP of marketing for Gatorade, says, “Women tend to lead differently than men. They bring a more inclusive and consensus-building style, which has worked really well for this brand.” She also states that, “Women tend to bring creative problem solving in how they approach business issues.”
Men Vs. Women Branding: Becoming An Equal Playing Field?Let me just say that men are also wonderful at branding. However, this makes me backtrack a little into our classes and think about which brands are male-dominant and which are female-dominant. The fact that males and females think differently in terms of branding makes me wonder how different our favorite brands would be if a few of the brand managers were switched out.
In Brand Revitalization, “Leadership Marketing” is discussed in Chapter 4. When I read this article about Gatorade, I thought back to a quote that I read: “Leadership means leading the way to the future…marketers need to lead the way to a new brand destination” (pg.75). As I think about marketing for the future, I am also reminded that these women are doing just that. Years ago, I bet no one could imagine a brand like Gatorade being run by women. Now, women have taken the brand and have completely made it their own, and are succeeding.
This article about women branders running Gatorade is not the apocalypse of branding. It will not change the way that we think of the cool, refreshing beverage that we indulge in after working out or playing a sport. It does, however, change the way I look at Gatorade as a brand. We are moving forward in the marketing sector by allowing the professionals, whatever gender they are, to lead brand revitalization.
|Be Tough- No Excuses|
Gatorade is paving the way for women empowerment in branding. They're making it known that the people that can "Be Tough" and have "No Excuses" can also be women athletes. I am not sure how long it will be before the next time that I read an article about an all-women executive branding board. However, I do know that Gatorade just changed the way that I view their brand. Isn’t that the point?