The Brand of Domingo Ayala
For a 17 year old who is touted as the best recruit in the MLB draft, Domingo Ayala certainly doesn’t shy away from telling people how great he is. Domingo, from Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic, is definitely comfortable making it known how much money he thinks he should sign for. And with the amount of people that follow him on social media he’s a well-oiled marketing and branding machine. The most unique aspect of Domingo Ayala…he’s completely fictional. He’s 100% made up. Yet he’s very real at the same time.
Domingo Ayala is the modern day Sidd Finch with a twist of Abbot and Costello, a sprinkle of Roy Hobbs, and dash of “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn. He’s a mystery, yet his persona is seen every single day. All of this has been made possible through vision, focus, the use of great content, and social media.
Baseball and softball player’s ages 10-40 years old adore him. I’ve personally witnessed the awe and excitement when Domingo is around his fans. His quick witted, family friendly, smart baseball humor has attracted fans from around the world. Domingo has appeared at hundreds of indoor facilities, sports complexes, MLB/MiLB locker rooms, helped raise thousands of dollars for youth teams & organizations, and entertained audiences big and small, in person, on television, and via the internet.
Perfect Game Tournament 2015
Perhaps he is most known for his YouTube videos that have garnered over 15 million views or his hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Most recently, he wrote, produced, filmed, and edited a YouTube series titled, “Domingo Ayala’s Theory of Beisbol”. It was this video series that truly captured the genius behind the brand of Domingo.
The aspect fans adore most is his ability to bring the fun parts of the games of baseball and softball to light. His unique style of showcasing embarrassing occurrences, game situations, and mechanical techniques of the game are helping make baseball relevant again in a sports entertainment world dominated by the NFL and fantasy football.
For years, MLB has been trying to attract younger fans and families to enjoy the great game of baseball. Family friendly ballparks, player endorsements, and cable channels like MLB Network have played a vital role in expanding the brand of baseball. Domingo Ayala is making an impact on the game in his own way.
By fearlessly taking on topics like superstitions, coach’s kids, riding the bus, & how to hit home runs, he’s connecting with fans on a completely unique and unprecedented level.
As an example of how strong his brand it, take his appearance in Nashville, TN at the American Baseball Coaches Convention. The ABCA is the “Who’s, Who” of baseball packed into a few days. The best coach’s in the nation, HOF players, cutting edge technologies, and the best training products in the market are present and on full display. One of Domingo’s partners, D-Bat Franchises, a leading baseball & softball training and apparel company that has locations throughout the U.S., brings Domingo to this event and to speak at their owners meetings as a way break up the day and entertain their growing ownership group.
There was no bigger presence than Domingo Ayala at the tradeshow. There were some huge names like John Smoltz, Auggie Garrido, Dale Murphy, and Howard Johnson in attendance. The most autographs signed by, pictures taken with, and merchandise sold was by Domingo Ayala. Without contest. Period.
Just ask any vendor near section 500 of the trade show what the biggest attraction on Friday and Saturday was. It was the Domingo Ayala table. A steady stream of kids, adults, coaches, mom’s, and dad’s lined up to get a glimpse of one of their favorite baseball players. Sure, they all know he’s not real, but it doesn’t take away from the moment. They are in awe. Kids are nervous to get a signature. Adults are giddy to take pictures with him for “their kids”. Coaches quote his videos. Grown men show photos of how they dressed up like him for Halloween. They appreciate his brand of comedy and Domingo appreciates their adoration. Official Domingo Ayala gear is almost completely sold out in a few hours.
The brand of Domingo has infected baseball fans of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities. It’s contagious. One mom could be overheard saying how much she appreciated the fact that she and her 13 year old son had something in common, watching Domingo videos on Thursdays when they come out on his YouTube channel. Their favorite was “Coaches Kid”.
Here’s a few interactions from that weekend:
A high school coach mentions that he had never heard of Domingo until his team introduced him to his videos. They now make Domingo videos part of their meetings, something that he appreciates because it helps him relate better with his players.
Legendary University of Texas baseball Coach Auggie Garrido stops by the Domingo table for a photo and to mention that he loved the video known as “The Apology”, where coach Garrido can be heard giving an infamous speech in the background of the video. Howard Johnson, at a booth nearby, insists he gets a picture with Domingo so his son can see it. Domingo’s reach seems limitless.
For businesses, celebrities, products, and brands, taking a page from the Domingo Ayala playbook could be pivotal in their success. Finding a way to create content that audiences can relate to, enjoy, and feel comfortable sharing is critical and necessary for a brand to have success. Having the vision, understanding, and ability to execute on a marketing strategy is one of the hardest parts to broadening a brands reach.
Domingo Ayala might only be “17 years old” and “holding out for a big time signing bonus to the MLB”, but he knows exactly how to captivate an audience and how to give his fans what they want. His ability to connect with them in ways professional players and teams have not, and in many cases, cannot, has created a loyal following of fans for life. And that’s what brand loyalty is all about.