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