Are they Valuable? Yes, Pete Carol has been valuable to the brand in the past. He is a brand in himself. This year the Trojans have suffered without him, his philosophy, and his charm. One may highlight that he fled to avoid the NCAA -scandal so perhaps the team is better but a prominent coach adds sparkle to the team. The Trojans build a fan base at the school with indoctrination. Winning begets fans and the team has a good history of winning. In addition, there are many fans that HATE the Trojans. This also helps to develop the brand by developing chatter, and further defining the brand. The fan base is extremely valuable.
Not as valuable. The team does better competitively when it wins. It lacks a distinct style. This is interesting in itself. ‘SC does have a unique play calling system but this would not make this a huge competitive advantage. Pete Carroll ran their plays like pro football so the players were better able to play in the pros. Are they Rare? Professional sports have many good coaches at the college level. This is not something ‘SC excels at currently. However, coaching consistently to win is impressive and Pete Carroll could build a winning tradition. It will be curious to see what the new coach can do here.
Rabid fans are rare at this level. USC has them. The fans have rituals like the fingers pulsing at the fight song, the band with their set play list inciting the crowd. Cardinal and gold plaid on fans, no one pays people to behave like this. Are they Imperfectly Imitable? Most likely the coaching can be imitable although each coach tends to have his own philosophy. The fan base is not imitable. Anyone could not develop this enthusiasm without years of investment and brand development. In many cases there is a family history of becoming a fan with toddler cheerleader and football player outfits being sold in the bookstore.
The playing style is imitable should a school desire to do so. This is not where the magic is in ‘SC football. Players could be imitable; however, several former players are sportscasters or professional players so ‘SC obtains attention in more than just the college arena. In addition, ‘SC has more depth on their bench by virtue of their recruiting prowess. Are they Non-Substitutable? USC has continued their trend as a competitive brand despite changes in coaching staff. They have had up and down years but the brand has continued. The fans are not replaceable. This is the key to ‘SC’s competitive advantage. SC has cultivated the fans, developed them and rewards them with mostly winning years. The fans will go to games win or lose, however. These are substitutable and tend to change as coaching staff changes. For single players, these are substitutable as well, although some stars have been bright spots. ‘SC has marketed the school like a brand. Clothes, license plate holders, and foam fingers brand the fans. SC has developed a cult like following with the coach. The players turn over but the team crafts stories about them. The team has national exposure on television and they work on developing a winning program through recruitment.
College football develops and brands itself through ticket sales, donations, sponsorships, and TV contracts. ESPN has been critical in developing teams. Going to schools and encouraging rivalries. Twitter is a good option to get word out about players. Anyone could take other sports/teams and run them through this same list. They are fairly new and started off not playing well, attracting players that they could get based on a new team. The biggest thing they worked on was developing a fan base by crafting a unique color scheme, a friendly mascot, and clever crowd pleasing tactics throughout games.