When American Express announced that it would offer a mega pre-game party on 200-foot barge docked at Pier 66, A.K.A. Hawks Island, before the Seahawks-Carolina Panthers game on Oct. 18, the event sold out to card members in less than 24 hours.
Hawks Island is part of a partnership between American Express and the Seahawks to offer special perks to card members. The Seahawks are the NFL team of choice for American Express, which is headquartered in New York. The credit card company isn’t doing a Cowboy’s Corral in Dallas or Dolphin’s Cove in Miami. The Seahawks are the “it” team.
“The 12s are some of the most passionate and loudest football fans in the country,” Anré Williams, president of Global Merchant Services at American Express, said in a statement. “Working with the Seahawks and select Seattle-area merchants, we have a unique opportunity to embrace that fandom and create exciting, new ways for card members and Hawk fans to cheer on their favorite team throughout the 2015 season.”
Piquing company interest and keeping current customers happy are two age-old business guidelines. But how do you win the hearts of customers? In this case, align your company with something that’s already won them over.
Businesses big and small, from international fashion lines to local mom and pop boutiques, are aligning their business with perhaps the most powerful marketing tool currently out there; football fandom. While it’s a no-brainer to sell Seahawks themed drinks, parties, and merchandise during the season, the success some businesses are having and the unique ways they’re reaching fans (ever heard of Seahawks perfume?) is pretty impressive.
Chapman Fina, who owns Via Lago, a local women’s boutique in Kirkland, has been selling Seahawks themed gear like hot cakes.
“Tonight I had a customer come in and buy eight hats and three T-shirts!” she said. “I currently only have two left and an overnight order coming from Dallas, Texas.”
Fina carries merchandise made by small, local vendors and true Seahawks fans, the T-shirts and hats you can’t find at any old mall. So, far it’s been an overwhelming success.
“I would say definitely the Seahawks merchandise has driven sales in 2014 and 2015. Clients, tourists and families are obsessed with something new and different for the Seahawks and to show their pride,” she said.
In January and February, gift and accessories sales doubled at Via Lago in the last two years. And while Fina is offering Seahawks gear, something you can find in bulk in any Eastside city, her locally crafted items are a shimmering deviation among the mass produced jerseys and caps – something original in saturated market.
When you’re the new kid in town, finding a way to relate to your customers is imperative. When Uniqlo, the fast fashion Japanese retail line, announced it was moving into the Bellevue Collection, it was quick to intertwine the brand with the Seahawks. Not only are they partnering with the team to offer “unique community events,” wide receiver Jermaine Kearse posed in the apparel along with other local celebrities for their Seattle-area campaign.
The list of business tapping into the powerful fan base the Seahawks have goes on and on, a win for both teams. Sometimes marketing is just that easy.