The 2016-17 Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff run has come to an end, but not without brand success.
In 2015, during Brand Edge Season 1, we had Glenn Gingerich join us to talk about the Maple Leafs’ brand community of fans, and why, even when they were losing, they stayed.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have always done one thing very well; reminded their fans about the success they enjoyed in the past. Banners are hung, statues are erected, hall-of-fame players are trotted out to games and events, all in the name of preserving the culture and legacy of winning and success.
On top of that, the team and ownership, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), have also done a fantastic job of creating a positive customer experience. And aside from some waffle throwing triggered by poor play, Maple Leafs fans have stayed content with their top-notch arena, community involvement, overall entertainment value, and brand community building.
Along with the feeling of belonging to a community, the promise of getting better has buoyed the Blue and White faithful over the last few seasons. And now, with their young core of players (Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Gardiner, Rielly) offering an exciting brand of hockey, and winning sooner than expected, the brand has seen a turnaround.
The assembled crowds at Maple Leaf Square have always been encouraging to MLSE, and even through the losing years, ticket sales never faltered. Add to that the real promise of winning and success on the horizon and it is easy to see why those same fans that have stuck around through the lean years are excited to buy new merchandise, pay for premium tickets, and cheer for their team.
These Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup yet, and there’s no promise that they won’t stumble along the way. But the team has provided their brand community with a promise of a competitive product and a feeling of hope, and they are (finally) starting to deliver.