Between seeing highlights of the Australian Open tennis tournament two weeks ago, and my favorite team in British soccer, Manchester United, I’ve been thinking about individual sports vs. team sports, and what we can learn about advertising from them.

Any way you slice it, advertising is a team sport - with each element of your ad spread representing a player on the team. Of course, you recognize that each player has a distinct role and a unique part to play, but they are all in support of one another and together, they form a team unit that can win games. But often, people treat the individual elements of ad spread as individuals - a single piece achieving a single goal.

But we’ve all probably heard the saying, ‘that person isn’t a team player’ and the challenges implied within that statement are just as familiar to us: individualism hurts teams.

Advertising of any kind, but in particular as a sub-set of branding, is a team sport, and playing a team sport with an individual mindset, is never conducive to the overall goals of the team.

  • So how does your brochure support your website (and vice versa)?
  • How do your Google ads align with your direct mail campaign?
  • How does your signage contribute to your end product/service?

Every single element of your brand may play their own part, and some may be more creative and expressive than others, but in order to ‘win’, they ALL have to play within the confines of the brand - creativity in a box - a VERY helpful and critical box.

Andrew VanderPloeg
Andrew VanderPloeg Guest Blogger, Consultant

Andrew served at Bark for over 20 years before recently taking over the role of Vice President of Marketing & Communications at ShareWord, one of our favorite organizations.