I was fortunate enough to attend the Masters this year. It was my very first visit and I was able to attend the Wednesday practice round and the Thursday and Saturday tournament rounds.
For any golfer or golf fan, the Masters is hallowed ground. I’m a golfer (a bad one) and my dad is a die-hard golfer. My dad went with me as did a few other good friends. It was a fantastic experience and one that I’ll cherish forever.
That said, the actual golf watching was just part of the experience. The total experience included leaving the Houston airport, flying to Columbia, South Carolina, meeting others on the trip at the airport, driving into Augusta late on Tuesday night, etc… Every single step of the way I had a smile on my face and it seemed like everyone I came into contact with knew where I was going and was happy for me.
Then, once I arrived in Augusta, I could just feel and sense the Masters brand all around me. I have never had such a feeling. I’ve been to a few big college bowl games (Fiesta and Rose) and they come a little close, but not close enough. I’ve also been to a Ryder Cup and it didn’t even come close.
From the moment you get close to Augusta National you can see the smiling faces of all the police officers directing traffic, the others in cars around you, etc… Pulling into the parking lot the workers are all very efficient and very pleasant as they instruct you exactly how and where to park. As you walk toward the gate every “official” employee of The Masters that you come in contact with is smiling, engaging, inquisitive and caring. A kind of caring you can actually feel.
When you are buying merchandise or food/drinks, the employees are all asking you how you are doing, asking if you need help, etc…
Now, for some of you who haven’t been to The Masters you are probably wondering why I would even make such a big deal of this. Here’s why. I’ve dealt with many leading brands (both professionally and as a consumer) – the Rose Bowl, Ritz Carlton, Nordstrom, Lexus, the Four Seasons and on and on. With The Masters, you literally feel the genuineness of the brand the entire time you are even in the area of the actual event. There doesn’s seem to be anything fake about it, nothing too salesy about it and nothing too stuffy about it.
It’s a unique feeling and one that greatly enhanced the overall experience for me and those with me. I’d love to manage a brand that had that “feeling” and someday I’d love it even more if someone said my brand made them feel that way. I think that would be the ultimate compliment.