advice on how to build meaningful brands

June 28, 2018

36 | The double-edge sword of cult brands – with Ryan Popowich

Why you’ve got to listen to this episode:

Loyal customers that stick with you no matter what, feel a deep emotional connection with you and pass that love on to others. That’s the type of customer relationship brands dream of having and work so hard to gain.

But what does this mean in terms of customer expectations and the level of engagement required to meet them?

In today’s episode, we’re talking to Ryan Popowich, Director of Marketing and Promotions for the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation which are responsible for the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Stampeders and Calgary Roughnecks.

Who can benefit from listening in:

Ryan explains the benefits and the demands of having such loyal and engaged audiences and the responsibility placed on each of the brands and their representatives in engaging with their fans and addressing their needs.

We can learn a lot from sports team brands. These brands have self-identified “fans” not “customers”. The fans feel a deep emotional connection with the brand and remain loyal despite the brand performance. Sports teams are probably the only brands that are typically still able to retain most of their customers or “fan base” even if their “product” does not perform as expected.

Sounds dream like? Wouldn’t we all love to have loyal customers that stick with us no matter what? But what does this mean for a brand? What are the expectations of such a loyal fan base that feel ownership over the brand? What does it take to address their needs?

In today’s episode, we ask these questions from a Marketing director of not one but four-sport team brands. Tune in to find out what he has to say.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Sport team’s brands have a social contract with their audience. They represent the market they are in.
  • Sports team’s brands share the same values of the communities they are in, their brand is intrinsically tied with their community.
  • “Fans” are not “consumers”. They feel part of the team, have a sense of ownership and have higher demands and expectations.
  • Most brands, like sports teams, are in the experience industry and have to engage with fans or customers during and outside of games or product engagement.
  • Many “fans” are born fans. Their love for the team is passed on to them by their parents. Sports teams have to always engage new generations while honouring older generations.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode


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