Like any sports team, your fans are your lifeblood. You’ve built your team’s image to embrace your fans and draw them in. You’ve carefully designed your logo, chosen the colors and invested in a professional web presence to create branding for your team. Your fans, in turn, take these colors, symbols and logos and brand themselves to demonstrate their loyalty.

Part of creating and keeping loyal fans is keeping your brand present in their minds for the greatest amount of time possible. That’s why you invested the time and sought the expertise of professional web developers to create a dynamic web presence. But internet marketing research shows that most visitors stay on a web page for under sixty seconds before moving on. To be successful, a web page must engage viewers with ever-changing content. You need to give them a reason to bookmark the page and want to return for fresh information. The most successful web pages also offer a way for visitors to interact with one another. Even though their visit may be longer than the average of under sixty seconds, eventually, the fans will move on to the next item of interest on the web.

What if they could take you with them, though? I’ve been designing web pages for a long time and have spent hours talking with talented marketing experts about ways of keeping an audience engaged beyond the short time it visits a given web page. During the course of these discussions, we realized that a web user has one constant while surfing the web. Surfing the web requires a tool. The web browser enables viewing, searching, bookmarking, and embedding RSS feeds. But the browser is a benign tool. It doesn’t help the user decide where to go or look. What if it did, though? What if the browser could display your team logo, look and feel, content and brand voice?

Customizing the browser with attributes from the team web site, then you would accomplish something that internet marketing professionals have found to be a far-reaching challenge. You would keep your team in the corner of your fans’ eye no matter where they venture on the internet.

Offering your fans a way to brand their browsers with your team’s look and feel gives them a team-sanctioned way to show and share their loyalty. Your fans’ browsers become a frame for your web page, enabling fans to hold you in their thoughts while they surf the web. They can share with one another and stay real-time current on any team-related news.

Many professional sports organizations have experienced the fallout from fans creating their own technology-related ways of sharing their enthusiasm for a given team. If you enter your team into a search engine, and drill down through the hits, you will find out what your fans are doing to honor the team and share their excitement. Widgets and homespun baubles can reflect the fan’s technical shortcomings just as much as they show the fan’s loyalty to the team. If an over-zealous fan creates a banner or desktop icon or some such item and offers it to his visitors at large, he may be generating team spirit. But, if the widget creates a problem for those who download it, he will be spreading aggravation. That’s an association you don’t want: Your Team = aggravation. Your Team = my browser froze.

Beat your fans to the punch. By offering them a way to acquire your web page’s branding, you increase loyalty, tighten your fan-base community and ensure that the offering is safe and bug-free. Now, when your fan fires up his browser, your brand will be the first thing he sees, and he will carry the brand with him wherever he goes. Anyone looking over his shoulder will undoubtedly say, “Wow! Where did you get the great browser?” And the viewer will be directed to your web page to acquire the add-on, not

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