I’ve been a golfer for a long time and lucky enough to attend the Masters tournament multiple times as an avid spectator. It’s truly one of golf’s great experiences, even when you’re outside the ropes. Recently, it dawned on me that the Masters offers a terrific lesson for enterprises that want to grow.
The Masters is first on the calendar of golf’s four major championships and is the only major that is held on the same course annually. Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, has hosted the Masters every year since 1934. It’s “a tradition unlike any other,” according to a catchphrase made famous by TV broadcaster Jim Nantz, and this phrase is trademarked by Augusta National.
There are thousands of impressive golf courses around the world, but very few can compare to Augusta National. In its 2015-2016 rankings, Golf Digest ranked it No. 1. It’s certainly a dream of many golfers to play Augusta at least once in their lives. But unless you’re a club member, a guest of a club member or a professional or amateur golfer who qualifies to play in the Masters, it will remain a dream. Augusta National used to have a membership waiting list but closed it in the 1970s due to high demand. Now it’s invitation only.
What makes the Masters the premier tournament in all of golf — and what enterprises can learn from it — is the total experience. The Masters offers amazing visuals, compelling stories and engages millions of fans every year. There is an opportunity for drama, heroics and heartbreak on every hole. Augusta National Golf Club has done a stunning job of carefully designing the experience of the tournament and golf course for its members, players and fans. Even when you can’t be there live and in person, you can still get a taste of the Masters experience by watching on TV or online.
The lesson for businesses that want to reach and engage audiences, build brand loyalty and carve out a distinctive niche for themselves is to emulate Augusta National and design the experience for employees and customers. Pay attention to the details, strive for consistency and focus on how you want your audience to perceive you.
Interestingly, even though the Masters has been played annually for 82 years, it didn’t start to attract massive audiences until the television era. That’s when legends Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus were in their prime and took the sport of professional golf to a new level. Among them, the Big Three have won 13 green jackets, awarded to Masters champions. This year, they are the tournament’s honorary starters. Until fairly recently, TV viewers of the Masters could only watch coverage of the back nine holes. The club kept strict rules about its exposure for many years, which over time added to its mystique.
Enterprises that design the experience for their stakeholders, in golf parlance, “tee through green,” or from beginning to end, can achieve a competitive advantage. Interactive elements are important to drive engagement. It’s hard to think of a golf course as interactive, but Augusta National shows that careful design can make it that way. Every hole at Augusta offers risk and reward, and requires players to make choices. The course almost turns a mirror on the players and shows them something about themselves. That is a lot like businesses that exhibit a deep understanding of their customers’ needs.
To reach a bigger audience, drive engagement and loyalty, enterprises need to remember to design the total experience and establish traditions. It will pay big dividends over time.
Learn more about how INXPO can help you design the experience through live online events powered by video by following me on LinkedIn or visit www.inxpo.com
See the original post on by our President and Co-Founder, Drew VanVooren on LinkedIn here.