Super Bowl brand battle

(This is a special Super Bowl edition. My regular post will still come on Tuesday.)

Super Bowl ads as a whole have developed a brand of their own. When else, other than during the Super Bowl, do people tune in mainly to watch the commercials?

This year, with more than 100 ads in about 210 minutes (really), we saw the regular brands vie for top spot. Doritos, E-Trade, Coca-Cola and a bunch of car brands and beers tried hard—maybe too hard—to be the one most talked about on Monday morning.

The winner, however, was a different brand—the New Orleans Saints. The Saints solidified their winning new brand, with a lesson for organizations and marketers everywhere.

How do you turn a struggling brand around? The Saints were long-time losers. Their city was lost. This was no easy task, but success came from three things:

1. Leadership: The Saints had every reason to leave New Orleans after Katrina hit. Their stadium was destroyed, their fan base was devastated and scattered. But the NFL and the owners decided to stay. They brought in a new leader—coach Sean Payton—who used their rebuilding to give hope to a city rebuilding.

2. Commitment: Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush are three of many Saints who could’ve gone elsewhere, but chose to stay in a post-disaster landscape. They were committed to building a winning team and doing it together—management, team and community.

3. Community: Coaches and teammates were brand ambassadors. They believed in their team and believed in their city. Every step along the way, they talked to the crowd and involved them. They kept reminding them that the Saints were going to win and that the fans and the city would win with them.

Any organization can have the same type of turnaround with strong leadership, commitment from all team members, and community appreciation and involvement.

If you’re fired up about your brand, others will be too. Be bold and inspire.

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