AMA Tampa Bay’s Marketer of The Year Gala’s Premier Venue
In 2009, Tim Jarrett was handpicked to lead Centre Club’s rebranding efforts, after its private event revenue and club membership had fallen dramatically. Jarrett relocated to Tampa, began his work, and the old Centre Club was history! The new Centre Club is an elite club that provides a tailored experience to its members with a cigar-themed power room, a work/play eclectic decor, craft beer nights, and thought leader luncheons. How did Jarrett accomplish such a task?
Jarrett first focused on stabilizing and growing the club in the right direction, and he assembled a team he thought could help him accomplish this. Then, Jarrett became very engaged in the community and presented the Centre Club as the community clubhouse for business.
We asked Jarrett to provide some marketing insights from rebranding a venue/club. Jarrett’s top recommendation is to understand your customers. He exemplified this with the Centre Club’s rebranding. After 60 years, ClubCorp (Centre Club’s parent company) did not know who used the club, how they used the club, and why. ClubCorp enlisted a national research firm that interviewed members, former members, and never before members, and followed how they did business.
The research revealed that members used the club as an office away from the office, a private event venue, a place to entertain guests, a place to meet new people, and a social dining destination. Once Jarrett knew who Centre Club’s members were and how the club was used, he ensured that the redesign and rebranding was tailored to their needs. In Jarrett’s words, “It’s important to strike a balance between great design and an operationally functional space.”
Aside from informing the interior design, the research to learn about the members/potential members helped Jarrett present and position the Centre Club as, “a place where Tampa’s dynamic leaders come to connect, work, host and play.” Additionally, Centre Club’s marketing campaigns are designed to speak to each of its four key targeted groups directly, rather than to the general membership. The groups are Executive Women, Business Professionals, Gastronauts, and Emerging Leaders. Lastly, Centre Club uses social media to speak to these four audiences about event programming on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Centre Club used the $2M renovation in marketing efforts in a fun way with a Bar Wars Event, which entailed a craft cocktail contest that benefitted local charities. The Tampa Bay Business Journal published the before and after story about the dramatic transformation of the Centre Club. The venue’s current marketing materials display the new interior space and additionally includes customized content and imagery throughout the website. Social media postings display Centre Club’s signature seafood dishes and its Gastronauts events.
Upscale Interior Design and Trendy New Menu
The inspiration for the Centre Club’s bold new design celebrates Tampa by drawing from local elements. The interior space features lightning inspired light fixtures, an ocean hued decor, as well as a modern wall mural with local historical landmarks and figures such as the University of Tampa’s minarets and images of Ponce De Leon and Henry B. Plant. The contemporary layout also offers an increased functionality to its membership with power access throughout and small meeting spaces. Beyond the design, the menu is reflective of Tampa with a modern Floribbean cuisine, a blend of North Florida and South Florida influences.
Jarrett and his Centre Club staff has shown a pattern of excellence earning ClubCorp’s Gold Circle of Excellence 2011 and the Bronze Circle of Excellence in 2012, and then the Gold Circle again in 2014. Jarrett enjoys building long term relationships with his members and with the warmth expressed by his members, it appears to be mutual.
About the Interviewer:
Kathleen Rogers is a blog writer for the Tampa Bay AMA. She has a passion for research-driven content writing. Most recently, she volunteered for Brandon Regional Hospital and provided pro bono marketing plans for Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center. She has a degree from USF’s Art History program and ten years of media planning and buying experience at Tampa and New York City advertising agencies. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys traveling to National Parks, visiting local art exhibitions, and cheering for her energetic girls from the pool side or soccer sidelines.