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