The Masters - Protecting a Brand

I went to the Masters Golf Tournament this week in Augusta, GA. I could go on and on about the tournament itself, but I'll just talk about branding for the purposes of this blog. We can talk golf in another blog elsewhere. The Masters has been around since 1934, so it's a longstanding brand with a cherished history. How do they (and Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament is played) protect this history? By keeping the Masters brand pure -- free from distractions or affiliations with any other brands that may not have as great a reputation. Masters crackersAt the tournament, the Masters brand is front and center. Every available food item is Masters-branded (see the photo of the Masters crackers). You can order cola (which happens to be Coca-Cola), sports drink (which happens to be Powerade), or peanut butter crackers (Lance crackers). There are very few sponsorships of any kind, and the ones that are there are done very tastefully. You won't see anyone handing out samples of chewing gum or headache powder. At the Masters, it's all about the golf and the history of the game. How does this relate to you? Be careful how you promote your brand. Be careful of affiliations with your brand. It may not be realistic to completely isolate your brand in the same way the Masters has done, but there is something to be learned about the care with which they have protected theirs.