Sports is Part of Our Corporate Culture
Sports is Part of Our Corporate Culture by Robin Loudermilk, Aaron’s CEO
Companies are like people. They all have personalities.
A company can be viewed as either staid and stiff or exciting and vibrant, based on what customers, employees and shareholders see the company doing.
At Aaron’s, we enjoy sports.
Sports is something our employees and franchisees embrace, but most importantly, sports are engines we use to brand our company.
Our name and logo are presented as exciting and memorable. Sports, when done well, has generated a lot of exposure for the Aaron’s name and logo and has done it in places where people are gathering to have fun and enjoy life.
That fits our culture and our company very well.
Our COO Ken Butler and VP of Marketing Mark Rudnick are the drivers of our sports personality, and they do it with flair and creativity. We don’t just put our company name on sports events, we try our best to become part of what is going on in our sports.
It is easy enough to research our customers and know which sports they like best. We love NASCAR, outdoors sports, pro and college football and basketball, and even some bull riding. Ken and Mark carefully choose where we should be based on our demographics, but also what is most popular in any particular area of the U.S. and Canada, where our stores are located.
For instance, there is nothing bigger in Alabama than University of Alabama football. Aaron’s is a primary sponsor, but recently we extended that sponsorship to our NASCAR racing program with driver David Reutimann. For the first time, a Sprint Cup car honored a BCS National Championship football team. The crimson and white number 00 Aaron’s car raced at Talladega in the Aaron’s 499 race actually led much of the way. If you live in Alabama, you had to love the Aaron’s car that day.
Sports works for us in a big way.
We recently were the presenting sponsor of the Atlanta Hawks Playoff Games, and we are now presenting sponsor of opening night this weekend for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Atlanta is our hometown, and we use sports to market but also, as good citizens, to help our local teams.
Over Memorial Day weekend, our Aaron’s NASCAR car will honor the Armed Forces Foundation, a charity that helps families of soldiers at war. Our red, white and blue Aaron’s car will be a tribute to the troops but is also promoting our effort to assist in raising a million dollars to support the work of the Armed Forces Foundation.
Our customers, employees, associates and friends are excited about what we do in sports. They get involved and find themselves cheering for drivers and teams that have special meaning to them. It gives us pride to see our company logo prominently displayed at popular sports events. We entertain customers at our events. It all fits.
We have found sports to be the perfect canvas for our company to showcase its personality and its creativity in ways that impress our customers and court new customers.
Most of you in the business world know Aaron’s as a company that is growing and performing very well financially. However, what you also need to know is that we are having a fun time doing it.
Check out our sports on our Web site. You will see.
Robin Loudermilk has been President and CEO of Aaron’s since 1997. Aaron's, Inc. is a publicly traded company (RNT and RNTA symbols on the New York Stock Exchange) that today has more than 1,700 company operated and franchised stores in the United States and Canada.