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