Kevin Bauer

An American in Germany

21

11

American Football for Europeans

Tackle Jack is an american football brand for football players and fans in Europe. 

www.tacklejack.com

I'm from Chicago, but have been living in Germany for many years. My kids were born here and starting playing football a few years ago. Now, football here does not have the popularity it does in the states. People here are so obsessed with soccer, that most people don't even know that it exists. Although there are numerous teams and leagues for players of all ages. Once a year the German Bowl is played in Berlin. That is the only german football game in the season that is televised.

German football fans are intense

I noticed the size of this niche, and the excitement they have about being involved in a game that is extremely motivating for players and because of it's very american team attitude and self motivation principles. Kids who have previously played soccer and switch to football usually become addicted to the sport very quickly, sometimes without even fully understanding the game!

I am a graphic designer by trade specializing in brand and packaging design and thought this would be a chance to finally build a brand for myself and make a business where graphic design plays a major role.

I started out last year just coming up with a brand, making some t-shirts and selling them out of a tent at football games. People liked it, so I had tacklejack.com built and started selling online. 

Suddenly I wasn't only a designer anymore, but a marketer and entrepreneur. So I quickly started to try to figure out Facebook, Instagram and Co. which I'm still in the process of doing. But since I really ever learned anything formally about marketing, I thought this class would be a great addition to reading and just trying things out.

Tackle Jack is the little guy who can take you down

The brand has a tough guy, underdog attiude, which also allows for making fun of oneself, as illustrated below in my Super Bowl Facebook post picture:

The competition to Tackle Jack are every NFL and GFL (German Football League) team who sells merchandise. I would like customers not to give up wanting to wear their favorite teams on their chests, but to have an alternative to show that they are football fans. 

Nike and Under Armour are the two most popular team-neutral football brands. They have a high tech football expertise. Tackle Jack can't compete with them on that level. We have to be different.

Let's get together

The best work I have ever done has always resulted from great teamwork. I would like to be a part of a small group of people in this class who are willing to help each other get their projects rolling. Maybe even just one or two people who are as motivated as I am to take advantage of this oppurtunity to have this great class with Seth and to experience a constructive teamwork with interesting people.

The 11 Questions. My role as a marketer for Tackle Jack

What is Marketing for?

Marketing is for telling the story of Tackle Jack. It's for getting people excited about the brand, because the brand makes them feel better about themselves. Tackle Jack customers are proud to be american football players and fans. They are underdogs in the european sport landscape where soccer is king. They want to show others that they are involved in a tough, exciting, lesser known sport, which is WAY cooler than soccer.

What are we allowed to touch?
1/3 of the business belongs to my partner who takes care the orders once they arrive, the production of the shirts and legal matters. But we are only 2 people, so everything is available to at least consider touching.

What can we as marketers measure?
We can measure:

• number of orders
• which designs sell the most
• How much money do germans spend on american football per year
• the brand value of Tackle Jack against the competition (with some kind of a survey)
• which marketing leads to which sales

What can we change?
We can change the customers scope of awareness of football brands. A small, lighthearted, independent brand has just as much value as Nike, Under Armor, and the NFL. But for a different reason. I must build an emotional attachment from the customer to my brand, so they don't see Tackle Jack as a "me too", but as an additional, relevant brand.

What promise are we going to make?
Our promise is that if you connect yourself to the brand, other people will notice and understand that you are a dedicated american football player or fan. This will boost your ego and give you support that you made the right decision to join in to a group who has no choice but to take the bleacher seats, but they do it with pride. 

What’s the hard part?
The hard part is getting people so excited about the brand that they are willing to order products online. Getting noticed isn't hard, that's just work, and often money. I'm still not sure whether the brand should appear small and personable. i.e. Kevin, the guy doing football t-shirts, or should it appear as a big company.
Should your organization be making trends or following trends?
Tackle Jack is following the trend of entertaining T-shirts for a certain target group. Within the target group it is not just selling fun t-shirts, but creating a brand with a certain point of difference.

Where is the risk?
The risk to the brand is not fulfilling the promise and losing credibility. Then the connected customer may be embarrassed to be associated to the brand. 

Who is in charge?
I am in charge of all decisions concerning marketing. I will include my partner to inform him and get his opinion, but I will make a plan and stick with it.

Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for?
Until now I have spent very little money. Only a couple of banners, and some help with the website.
When I do spend money, it will be spent where the brand image can be enhanced. Which includes:
• new, exiting shirt designs
• website updating
• person to help with social media
• direct mailings

How should we be spending our time?
I should be spending my time making new contacts, and coming up with ideas for new designs and marketing. I would like to delegate the rest.

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