Marketing and events for customer engagement.


Putting, Branding and Placebos


At 54 we love working in the golf business, and we love playing the game—as much, if not more. But when it’s time to putt, the game can change from athletic endeavor to an exercise in physics, potentially wiping out a great drive and approach.

That’s why earlier this year a sidebar article in the trade magazine Golfdom stood out. It covered that most perplexing part of the game along with a dose of branding insight. The headline read “Study Reveals Putter Brand Can Cause Placebo Effect.”

Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business conducted a study inviting people to take part in market research for a new putter. Participants were shown three points on a green and told to make each putt—however many attempts needed—with a completely unbranded prototype club. Half of the group was told the putter was from Nike. The brand of the club was not mentioned to the other half. All participants used the same putter. Those that thought it was a Nike putter needed significantly fewer attempts, on average, to make the putt.

What’s the takeaway? Brand perception and awareness can have a powerful effect. Even though Nike recently withdrew from the golf equipment market, the fact remains they had invested lots of time and effort over decades to elevate themselves as a performance brand. Had the participants been given a brand name they had never heard of—regardless of its actual quality—it’s doubtful the placebo effect would have been the same.

Brands matter to consumers, sometimes more than they realize. Taking good care of your brand’s reputation is critical. If you don’t, it may not matter how good your product is. Currently we are busy working on how to present a client’s brand at the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show in January. More than 40,000 people come to Orlando to walk the aisles of this event. It’s not easy to create a space that delivers attention-grabbing power yet also presents the company in a dignified way that’s reflective of a top brand in golf. But we like a good challenge. It’s why we work so hard at 54 to make sure our clients’ brands are seen by the right people, at the right time, in the right way.

No.52 Handicap access located, verified.
No.37 Translators vetted, hired.
No.44 Tailgate party locations confirmed.
No.41 Stadium maps delivered.
No.17 Guests’ likes/dislikes recorded.
No.50 Extra device chargers acquired.
No.47 Staff uniforms delivered.
No.32 Bathroom amenities prepped and placed.
No.04 Dinner reservations confirmed.
No.15 Taxes, gratuities, service fees tallied and paid.
No.25 Homes inspected for cleanliness.
No.29 Boats chartered.
No.35 Luggage transfer protocols confirmed.
No.48 Meeting spaces identified, inspected.
No.06 Flight info/arrival/departure monitored.
No.09 Weather forecast checked, proper gear secured.
No.54 Event dress code noted, communicated.
No.19 Security team vetted, in place.
No.46 Extra sunblock ordered.
No.05 All event tickets purchased.
No.45 Emergency air services researched.
No.21 Property map for guests created.
No.02 Lodging standards verified.
No.49 Reception halls booked.
No.20 Parking and passes secured.
No.34 Luggage tags confirmed.
No.43 Aircraft seating preferences confirmed.
No.07 Local hospitals/urgent care identified.
No.38 Child services/nannies vetted, hired.
No.24 Local food/restaurants identified.
No.03 Chefs vetted and secured.
No.10 Event walk-through performed.
No.40 Pick-up/drop-off locations scouted, confirmed.
No.22 Golf clubs/guns rented.
No.42 All deposits made.
No.51 Umbrellas/rain gear checked.
No.23 Golf pairings made.
No.27 Community/hotel entrance codes tested.
No.11 Wi-Fi availability/log-in directions confirmed.
No.28 Preferred beverages ordered.
No.33 Home amenities prepped and placed.
No.39 Hunting/fishing forecasts checked/licenses purchased.
No.16 Traffic patterns studied, logged.
No.12 Drivers interviewed, vetted.
No.36 Photographers hired.
No.18 Hunting/fishing guides vetted, hired.
No.30 Tours and guides vetted, confirmed.
No.26 TV guides/local channels logged.
No.31 Linens inspected.
No.01 All vehicles fueled and serviced.
No.53 Event’s “items prohibited” list obtained.
No.14 Agenda/itineraries double-checked, mailed.
No.08 Guests’ food allergies documented.
No.13 Talent booked, arrival time confirmed.