And so it is official: The 2008 Lions are winless. So, what does a franchise that is among the worst in sports history do for an encore? Hopefully make some drastic overhauls in personnel.
But what else? As someone that works everyday to help clients with branding and messaging, I have a few thoughts:
The announcement this week that the Lions were holding on ticket prices for 2009 was a step in the right direction. I would go one further: CUT prices and keep them discounted until the product on the field improves.
I’d also take another step: Have William Clay Ford make the announcement. At the same time I would recommend he do what Mike Ilitch did a few years ago after the Tigers turned in one of their worst seasons ever and start granting some extensive media interviews in which he demonstrates responsibility for the failure of the Lions franchise, apologizes and vows to do whatever it takes to turn the team around. He needs to do this with passion and resolve.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Lions played hard for Rod Marinelli right down to the wire, Ford has to clean house, from the front office down and, most importantly, put managers and coaches with proven league success in place.
These are the basic tenets, really, of crisis communications: Take responsibility, pledge improvement and reassure. 0-16 is a crisis and culmination of decades of ineptitude. Everything must change.