Notre Dame: The Motherlode of Brand Experiences

Before everyone talked about digital communications, they talked about Notre Damebrand. If anyone wonders what brand is all about, take a trip to South Bend, IN. It’s here where I had the motherlode of brand experiences. A few weeks ago we went to Jim’s hometown to visit his brother, and if you don’t know about South Bend, it’s the home of Notre Dame, and more specifically, Notre Dame football.

Spend two days in South Bend and you will understand that these people are totally nutso over the Notre Dame football team. Everyone–whether he/she goes to the university or not–wears Notre Dame clothing—caps, scarves, sweatshirts and T-shirts. I’ve witnessed my share of school spirit, but Notre Dame has raised the bar.

We were there for Football Friday. Think hospitality tents, rousing pep bands, alums strutting across campus in their blue and gold, trailing offspring attired in tiny versions of their own Notre Dame gear. When we left on Saturday morning, there were corporate jets still waiting to land for that night’s matchup with USC.

There was a very strong element of a bunch of aging frat boys reliving their (happier?) college days. But you can’t deny the power of the Notre Dame brand. People are proud to be associated with this school. The indomitable force of the football team may have tarnished a bit over the years, but they remain fierce competitors.

Happily, the Notre Dame commitment to academics has neither diminished nor been compromised—and that includes its football team. As other schools’ rosters include quasi-literate players, Notre Dame holds itself to a higher standard. This is a heroic accomplishment and part of what keeps the Notre Dame brand strong.

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