Not only does the direction of the franchise on the field seem adrift, I'm really lost as to what the current FO is doing in terms of business model and branding. What is it they are trying to sell us? Obviously it's not winning baseball. But the messages they attempt to sell are all over the map.
They've tried to draw fans to the stadium based on identities: Larkin, Griffey, Kearns, Bailey Cordero, etc. Sign a big name or hype a prospect such that the fanbase gets excited. The fanbase is conditioned to look for the next "silver bullet" player.
They've tried to draw fans based on a new stadium.
They've tried to draw fans by harkening back to days of yore. Whether it be getting scraptastic players (Sabo, Hatcher, Freel) or trotting out the next old Big Reds Machine member it seems like a lot of energy has gone into trying to sell the message that fans should come to the stadium because of a team 35 years ago.
They've certinally relied heavily on $1 dogs and crappy give-a-ways. Bobble-head nights seem to draw well, but did the BBQ aprons really do much to boost gate attendence or attract new fans?
They've tried targeting different groups. You've got the family sections, all you can eat sections and party decks. Yet, none of those seem to blend together around a common theme (you'd think it would be baseball).
Last Saturday night it really struck me how completley disjointed all of the pregame activies are. First, you have complete faux excitement. You've got people lining up for the 3 or 4 cerimonial first pitches, the MDX crew trying to catch rings on their head, Gapper running around feeling up attractive moms, players milling around and the cheerleaders off to the side doing a dance number. Serriously, it's total trainwreck that's topped off by a retrospective video of great Reds past. Is that mess really what somone in the business department really thinks fans want?
Now they have three mascotts. Three.
I just can't get a read on what business model they are trying to set up. Are they trying to be low cost entertainment? A place for young hipsters? A place to see and be seen? A team soaked in history? An alternative to movies and paintball? All of the above? None of the above?
They have zero brand identity, zero brand excitement and zero brand draw.
The answer is obvious, win stinking baseball games, and the branding stuff will come. You would think that'd be a no brainer. But the FO seems to be working overtime trying to come up with different messages without any of them building around a theme or seemingly aimed at anything more than random targets. (I understand that it's not an easy task with such a horrable product).
They remind me of the well-meaning parents who half-heartedly disciplined their child, and went on lots of vacations but can't figure out why she's a crack addict porn star.