What Organizations Can Learn from the Frenzy of March Madness

What Business Owners Can Learn From the Frenzy of March Madness

For many sports fans, March is truly the most wonderful time of the year. ‘Tis the season for Cinderella Stories and bracket busters, buzzer-beating heroics and cutting down nets. Even if you’re not one for sports, you can’t avoid the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka, March Madness. The fervor surrounding the Tournament can be all-consuming – but it also provides ample opportunities and lessons from which organizations can draw benefit.

Here’s what the Tournament can teach us:


Bring Your Colleagues Together and They’ll Perform At Their Best

Being part of a team is a beautiful thing, and being part of a community is even better. Magic happens when alumni and fans rally around their squad, especially if their team is an underdog, and you can see and feel that support from the players on the court. Countless athletes have credited their fans and supporters with giving them the strength and will to push through adversity and achieved unexpected, unimaginable success.

“Empower the people around you, from the janitor to the athletic director. You do that by being sincere, caring about others and then putting it into practice.”

— Sue Gunter

Similarly, camaraderie is essential to a highly functional organization and to professional relationships. It’s a lot easier, even pleasurable, to do excellent work, dig deeper for tougher answers, and work with greater consciousness and intention when you’re part of a team that is doing the same.

Even small acts of support can go a long way.

A great example of this is LinkedIn’s “congratulations” campaign. When a member like Chase Renwick lands a new job, LinkedIn sends the user a gift box and a handwritten letter celebrating his or her achievement. In return, the user often posts a public thank-you (on LinkedIn, of course), both increasing activity on the platform and improving LinkedIn’s brand reputation. This small act of acknowledgement and support can have a lasting impact on the individual being addressed, goes a long way in demonstrating your organization’s core values, and can also create strategic benefit.


Give People Something to Root For — an Opportunity to Win

Friendly competition can be inspiring, uniting, and fun. There’s a reason why Duke/North Carolina or Kentucky/Louisville are must-see events – it’s not just that both schools have great athletes on their roster, it’s that every game is another event in a history that has been unfolding for decades upon decades; it’s that history that draws their community in to engage on a deeper, more active level. Plus, people love to win – it’s human nature, and winning alongside those you care about feels all the better, making winning something from a brand you believe in (such as your favorite school) only that much sweeter.

“A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want to play.”

— Mike Krzyzewksi

You can benefit from of this predisposition of human nature by organizing giveaways or contests through your company’s social media pages. Invite your audiences to win and compete with another brand they love – you! They can be asked to caption photos, “like” or “tag” friends (hello, new followers!), or share images to win fun prizes, shoutouts and opportunities. Should you need additional convincing:

By engaging loyal followers through competitions, you can convert them into loyal fans. Chances are, both losing and winning participants will perceive your organization more positively and look forward to future opportunities to win.


A Reward for All of That Hard Work

There’s nothing like seeing your favorite team upset a legacy school (especially when it’s Duke) and reap the glory that comes with it. You can grant your employees that sense of satisfaction without jumping through too many hoops (sorry, couldn’t resist…) – and it’s no secret that keeping employees happy benefits your bottom line. Companies in the U.S. lose $11 billion annually on employee turnover, and studies estimate that it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary each time an employer replaces a salaried employee.

“A successful person never loses… they either win or learn!”

— John Calipari

Want to save yourself the trouble? Here’s what employees want:

  • Respect. According to the Harvard Business Review, people who feel their employers treat them with respect are 63% more satisfied with their jobs.
  • Benefits. If you can offer better benefits, do it. More than 70% of professionals say having more work benefits would automatically increase their job satisfaction.
  • Culture. Nearly 75% of US professionals place great importance on a rewarding work environment. Employees value trust, integrity, teamwork and fairness.

Whether you’re betting on every game or counting down the days till April, this month’s Madness can teach you lessons that’ll last a lifetime – and we can help you implement them into your marketing strategy.

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