• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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ESPN goes from introducing “change” to becoming the best brand in television

I am asked to speak at various conventions and conferences as well in front of many company audiences and, often, the subject is about change. How you adapt to it and, more importantly, how you must embrace it and even seek it out.

I thought about “change” again when considering how potent the ESPN brand has become. A new set of ESPN spots, which establish the network as being deeply embedded in the sports world, were broadcast recently.

The new round is a step up, featuring the “craziness” of sports fans, something that is instantly recognizable in this world of fantasy sports (which I’ve never quite understood) and has a bit of the “There, but for the grace of God, go I” feel to it. That’s a brand: A reflection, even a funny one, of the target audience.

Screen-shot-2010-09-20-at-12.29.27-PMEmbracing change is a scary proposition for many, but it’s only in change that innovations and market leaders emerge. How silly did we all think ESPN was when it showed kindergarten bowling or hopscotch in its infancy? The idea of a 24-hour, sports network was ludicrous.

Today, ESPN is the most powerful brand in television. It has defined a category and is so associated with the meanings of that brand that its parent network, ABC, brands its sports coverage “ESPN on ABC.” Although ESPN often annoys me, it has the most loyal audience in the landscape, and it got there by introducing a change that was initially mocked.

Change is nothing to be afraid of and, in fact, those companies and brands that are afraid of it are doomed to irrelevancy. It’s not crazy. It’s business.

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