Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3.12.2013: Hejduk's Role Of Brand Ambassador Is An Interesting, Necessary Scenario

Frankie on High St. - Photo by Columbus Underground

3.12.2013: Hejduk's Role Of Brand Ambassador Is An Interesting, Necessary Scenario
By Ryan Kozlowski (Crewture.com)

This was the Frankie Hejduk I was used to:

Glistening with sweat after another defensive shutout, high-fiving, borrowing a swig of beer, and posing with the Nordecke after another home win. Battling for the Columbus Crew on the field.

Last year, when I went to the rivalry game between the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire, I was introduced to another Frankie Hejduk; A Frankie Hejduk that wanted to destroy the Chicago Fire, well.... a painted Chicago Fire minivan with a hammer.

While most fans went nuts, I was equal parts amused and confused. Frankie Hejduk is now the Brand Ambassador, doesn't he have to do professional things? Wear a suit or something?

Isn't this above his time? Or wait, is the new job of the brand ambassador to artificially destroy other teams brands painted on cars? :-) This has to be some kind of joke "job" right?

My confusion was enhanced because the last time I saw Hejduk, in person, was as a player. 

He was the face of the Columbus Crew franchise. In 7 years, he had over 150 appearances with the club, and finished off the New York Red Bulls in the 2008 final by dispatching Schelotto's chip.

But, now he's smashing stuff to make drunk, perhaps easily amused, Crew fans happy.

My first thought was, sounds like an easy enough job. My second thought was, he had no bodyguards or Crew staff really around him? He is just a fan now. 

This isn't a bad thing. I perked up, starting cheering, and grabbed a beer. 

One of Hejduk's roles as brand ambassador crept up on me, without me knowing, keep current Crew fans entertained and happy.

And of course Frankie grabbed a beer too.

This role would only work for Frankie Hejduk though. 

For most former players it would be an impossible transition. 

Going from what Hejduk achieved as a player (for example in the below image), to  smashing windows in to get fans pumped up or, after it becomes a requirement, doing many other things in the community.

That dedication to a team, a city, and a brand isn't normal for most players, in any professional sport. Being the guy that will do anything to attract fans and investors, isn't usually a role for a player.

But, that's what makes Hejduk different. Just because Frankie was a world class soccer player, with 85 national team appearances, Hejduk was never better than anyone or above doing anything to promote Columbus, both as a player and now.

The guy was a great representative for the Crew as a player and now the dude has a 'one-of-a kind' job as the brand ambassador for the Columbus Crew.

The following Columbus Dispatch article hits those points, and his roles (or different shoes) he wears as Crew Brand Ambassador:
His suede dress pair works well for meetings with corporate partners. His Nike soccer shoes come in handy for impromptu games at central Ohio schools. And his black Converse sneakers are suited to hanging out at a bar with friends and fans alike.
It's just more than likely that Hejduk's personality will resonate with anyone. 

Whether he's trying to resonate to perspective corporate partners that the Columbus Crew is a cool investment; that kids got to hang out with this cool former Columbus Crew player and maybe it would be a cool outing for the family to check out the Crew game; or Hejduk, at OSU, playing soccer tennis and resonating that maybe going to a Crew game will be a cool thing to do on a Saturday afternoon for a college kid (perhaps instead of getting plastered on a Saturday night).

It works... Perhaps slowly, but better than some (perhaps annoying and uninspired) unknown person talking to you over the phone.

Yet, it can't be an easy job when your always out in the public and on stage. Frankie Hejduk always needs to be on and always needs to make an impression in the community. Anyone that has worked with the public on a daily basis knows that always having to make an impression, can be exhausting at times.

For most normal people, at times you don't want to talk to anyone, deal with stupid questions, and etc.

But, Frankie Hejduk embraces the role and is the only person in the organization that could do this and pull it off.

For example, could you imagine Mark McCullers, Robert Warzycha, Brian Bliss, Eddie Gaven, or Federico Higuain smashing cars or doing any of the following and getting the same reaction:

Frankie Hejduk just doesn't know an awkward moment (or as The Dispatch said, "a stranger"), he's the guy everyone wants to hang out with.

So, for the Crew front office he would be like the cooler, older brother that asks the hot girl (be it in this elaborate metaphor- corporate partners, osu college kids, etc) out on the date with the brother that's often ignored.

And once they get in the door, even if unsure (cause of course the rest of the show can't be as fun as Hejduk). Perhaps down in the Nordecke, they change their tune. 

Especially when they hear the we love ya pick up and hear the noise, and maybe it turns into a long lasting relationship, another season ticket holder, or a long term investor.

Therefore, if Columbus is ever going to hit their 10 K season tickets goal, Hejduk is going to be doing a lot "more than (McCullers) expected."

And really Columbus may need two or three Hejduk clones.

1 comment:

  1. I would say that a CM's responsibilities would not only be external but also internal. Its the middle role between the ops/s&m director(s) and the "shop floor"
    A Managers responsibility is to ensure exposure and conversion working along side the purchasing and sales teams.