Tag Archives: promotion

What does a Redbird have to do with Basketball?

23 Apr

America is the only place that has mascots for sports teams. Every other country simply has place names or their corporate sponsors, but somehow we have animals (usually) as our sports team names. How did that happen?

The term “mascot” is only 150 years old; like a lot of English terms, we stole it from the French. “Mascotte” is a word that simply means “lucky charm.” Normally, if you had a single team from a place, you’d go with “the Cincinnati baseball team” or the particular neighborhood that you would be from. It was only when sports got professional that things got interesting. The Cincinnati team hired a much of cricketers from England who wore these long red socks which they wore while they played cricket. So they became unofficially known as the Red Socks. Then they got so successful, the Boston team offered their star players more money, and they went to Boston. Hence they became the Red Sox and the Cincinnati team stayed the Reds.

According to Wikipedia, the first mascots in the US came from the interim entertainment that the promoters brought in to kill time between innings. The Chicago team brought in a bear cub–people liked it so much, the Chicago baseball team became the Cubs. The oldest football team was the Chicago Cardinals… because there already a team called the Chicago Maroons, and they bought their old uniforms which…. had faded a bit. So they called it Cardinal red.

This was a pretty popular color at the time. So when Illinois State Normal College (later my alma mater, Illinois State) named their team, they called them the cardinals. However, that word was one character too long to hit the headlines, so they shortened it to “Redbirds.” The name stuck.

With the tradition in place, every sports team decided they had to have a mascot. However, not everyone had the money to really spend on a whole branding effort. So many schools have red and white as their colors because… it was cheaper. If you have a mustang or a bear or a common mascot, the companies that make the merchandise already have those ready. If you want to be the Campbell College Camels… well, it’s going to cost more. (No, I did not make that up.)

So as with many thing, mascots and team colors depend on cost. After all, the American Army went with a standardized blue because it was cheaper than red, which is what George Washington was used to. However, I could be simplifying this concept–do you have a better theory? Let me know in the comments below! And since you’re here, check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. You’ll be glad you did.

Fear of the Big “P”

11 Oct

I respect missionaries – their job is incredibly hard. Conveying a message to people who don’t want to hear it is a skill that is incredibly difficult and demoralizing. Even when it’s something you believe in, it’s demoralizing not to make any progress. Promoting your own book feels like preaching to the unconverted.

“Promotion” is a dirty word. No one wants to be bombarded with ads – eventually, they become part of the background. For example, there’s two ads on this page that you haven’t even noticed. What I find that works is that you want to be catered to; if you feel like you’re being courted rather than lectured, it’s far more effective.

Take elections, for example. Direct mailings – straight to garbage. Robocalls – turned off. Staffers calling you… okay, I’ll listen to you. Staffers coming to your door – I’ll be polite. The actual candidate showing up to your door? Wow!

I’ve voted for someone on my city council purely because they came to my front door and made their pitch. Wouldn’t have voted for them otherwise. I’m going to vote for my state rep, even though I voted against them in the last election, because they bothered to personalize their response to me instead of a form letter. It doesn’t take much to convince me, even though I know it’s probably just a staffer in her office. They bothered to try. I know what a form letter looks like, but you had a real person respond to me – you got my vote.

That’s why I use this blog – it’s a way of promoting my books in a way that… hopefully doesn’t annoy you. My hope is that you get a taste of my writing, you like what you see, and you want to see more. I’ve got plenty of free samples in my Stories page and I keep my Kindle prices low ($1.99) to help make it easy for you to get my books.

So again, I’m going to shill for my new book, Defending Our Sacred Honor, and ask you – what advertising seems to work for you? I can’t approach all of you in person and suggest you read my book. I can’t go to conventions at the moment so I can do that in a friendlier way. I don’t have your phone number (I don’t want your phone number), so what kind of promotions work for you? Doesn’t have to be book related. Let me know in the comments below!

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