Astute Marketing Advice From An Ink-Stained Curmudgeon

January 19, 2012

Patrick Reusse

Marketing guru

Today’s sharp marketing advice comes from an unlikely source — Star Tribune sports columnist and gravelly voiced radio host Patrick Reusse.

Weighing in on the latest Viking stadium developments, Reusse notes that in marketing, naming is key. He’s talking about how Gov. Mark Dayton and developers who favor a stadium site on the northwest side of downtown Minneapolis face an extra challenge because of how the location has been labeled.

The greatest blunder in the history of stadium marketing occurred when the backers of this location allowed it to become known as the “Basilica site.” They should have termed it the “North of 394” site, or the “Scrubland and Replaceable Buildings” site.

vikings logoReusse makes a good point. The “Basilica site” sounds as if the stadium would be built right next to the historic church. And while there’s no debating that a stadium on that site would be close to the Basilica, there would be an elevated freeway separating the structures. Whether a stadium north of I-394 would overshadow the Basilica or somehow diminish its impact is an open question.

Either way, linking “Vikings stadium” and “Basilica” in the public’s mind gives ammunition to those who oppose the site. Even a casual observer might reflexively oppose the site just because of the “Basilica” label.

Reusse’s observation provides a good reminder that controlling the name of a product, policy or proposal is half the battle.