TeamNZ put caution ahead of innovation – USA Today

Ellison brand a big winner, too, in America’s Cup
USA Today
The America’s Cup win is great for America and terrific for sponsor Oracle, but the biggest winner may be the billionaire owner whose personal brand just got the largest lift of all: Larry Ellison.
“Oracle is really code for Ellison,” says Rob Prazmark, founder and CEO of 21 Marketing, which specializes in sports marketing. “Ellison uses sailing and his America’s Cup victories to further Oracle’s business relationships.”
Only a handful of CEOs are as big as their brands. Phil Knight and Nike are synonymous. So are Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Larry Page and Google. And, of course, Steven Jobs may have been bigger than the Apple brand itself. So when a brand reaches new heights,as Oracle has with Wednesday’s comeback-of-a-lifetime America’s Cup win, so rises the reputation of Ellison, the billionaire behind the boat.
What should Ellison — and the Oracle brand — do next? Sports marketing gurus offer these suggestions:
–Timing is everything: The big tech fest for business and IT honchos, Oracle OpenWorld 2013, concluded Thursday in San Francisco. What a way to end the show — with the America’s Cup champs appearing at the conference keynote address. Oracle enticed folks to attend with commemorative T-shirts that were promised to the first 1,000 attendees. It also gave attendees the chance to have their photo taken alongside the Cup. The big win was also highlighted on the conference’s blog. “If they had lost, it could have been a very bad story, but now it is an incredible story,” says Prazmark.
–Brag a little. Perhaps Oracle should consider some tablet advertisements, reminding American’s that the leader in corporate software is still the leader in yachting, says Chris Raih, founder of the sports marketing agency Zambezi. Raih suggests this headline: “Oracle: maintaining our lead in the software industry and the high seas.”
–Bring the thrill to clients. Oracle should create some sort of American’s Cup “daily experience” the brings the thrill of the victory to top clients and vendors, suggests David Schwab, senior vice president at Octagon, a sports and entertainment marketing agency. This is particularly important in markets with water access including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami, he says.
–Personal brand. Not all of the personal branding need be Ellison’s. The Australian native Oracle skipper, Jimmy Spithill — who also led the team to victory in the last cup — is already a hot marketing item in his native Australia, and should now be increasingly marketable in the U.S. market, says Raih.
–Create an image. Unlike New Zealand, which cautiously sat on its seemingly insurmountable 8-1 lead in the race, the Oracle brand should now emphasize “It’s not complacent in the marketplace and pushes the outer limits of creativity and innovation,” says Darcy Bouzeos, president of DLB, a sports and entertainment marketing firm
–Focus on the rich. Even after this win, America’s Cup remains a “very niche” sport that’s laser-focused on the “uber-wealthy” says Prazmark. Ellison and Oracle still need to remember that, whenever and wherever the flaunt this big victory.     ___
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