There are a handful of brands that have passed the century mark. Coca-Cola is one. Ford is another. But what about entertainment? For close to 87 years the Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining kids and adults alike with their basketball high-jinks and ballet-like athleticism. Five and half years ago Kurt Schneider took control as CEO of the organization and has been re-inventing and modernizing the brand ever since. Touring has been the traditional way the Globetrotters have interfaced with fans, but Schneider, a former executive vice president of marketing for World Wrestling Entertainment, felt that this was not sufficient.
For example, last Summer he led the change with such things as partnering with fitness clubs and the use of clinics for young kids who may be less familiar with the brand. For the first time ever, the Harlem Globetrotters partnered with fitness club industry leader, 24 Hour Fitness, to host 120 summer skills clinics for youth across the U.S. Designed to take fans ages six to 14 behind the curtain to see the magic behind the Globetrotters’ electrifying basketball skills and tricks. Kids also learned about the importance of staying active and eating healthy. “These clinics are an extension of our brand and allow our fans to experience unparalleled interaction with our talented players, while promoting health and wellness for children in a fun setting,” said Schneider.
The Globetrotter’s brand has been given a boost through its touring in countries such as China and Japan where they have been very well received as an iconic American entertainment brand. The group actually has three teams and has been touring since 1952. “You have to be a great basketball player, a great entertainer and a great person if you want to be a Globetrotter, “ offers Schneider. The team also has an anti-obesity program for youth which is part of the 164 school tour which began last September. The combination of tours, clinics, school appearances together with You Tube videos constantly pushes the brand in the public’s consciousness, believes Schneider. Prior to WWE Schneider was CEO of Asimba, Inc. and served as VP of marketing at Fox Sports Net. He will be discussing his ideas for reinventing brands at the December 6 CEO2CEO Summit at NYSE.