The San Francisco Giants are currently leading the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in the World Series standings. Game six is tonight at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. This is Kansas City’s third World Series, their last being in 1985. San Francisco has made seven appearances in the World Series and are last year’s reigning champions here to take the ring for the second year in a row.
Although baseball standings and champions differ each season, there has always been one common denominator. Since 1894 “Louisville Slugger” has been registered with the U.S. Patent Office. At age 17 Bud Hillerich turned his first baseball bat. Since 1894, Louisville Slugger has grown to make 1.8 million bats each year.
Professional baseball players are very particular about the bat they swing and over 60% of major league hitters use a Louisville Slugger. Rick Redman, communications vice president for the brand, has said “Put the words ‘Louisville’ and ‘Slugger’ next to each other, and 90 percent of Americans have no question what you’re talking about.” This is absolutely true. Every historical name in baseball, including Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth, has swung a Louisville Slugger bat.
How did Louisville Slugger do such a phenomenal job branding their product? It didn’t take much work other than strategic placement of the logo on equipment. The company was early to recognize that baseball fans like to use the same equipment that their heroes, so they made sure that the same equipment was available to the younger audience. The Slugger’s masterstroke seal makes sure consumers know they’re getting the same bat the professionals use in the Major League Baseball. The logo is also strategically placed. Professional batters know to keep the brand logo facing upwards when they swing, so the tightest and strongest part of the wood’s grain connects with the baseball. Every single baseball bat swung is a walking advertisement for Louisville Slugger’s brand.
Baseball fan or not – Louisville Slugger presents an incredible example of successful branding.