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Super Bowl Stories, Smack Talk and Brand Affinity

Super Bowl Stories, Smack Talk and Brand Affinity

No, this is not another post critiquing Richard Sherman’s social skills. Instead, this is a post about all of the compelling Super Bowl stories and how they build player brand affinity. Similar to what I wrote about in What the Olympics Can Teach about Humanizing our Company Brand, all of the stories from media row help fans develop an empathy for the players.

Here are some of my favorite stories so far, and please add your favorites in the comments:

  1. Richard Sherman – we’ve heard plenty about Sherman throughout these playoffs. He is young, he is brash, and he is good. Fans like me can get distracted by his cocky attitude and lose sight of his personal road to the Super Bowl. He grew up in Compton, avoided gangs, graduated second in his high school class, excelled at Stanford on-and-off the field, and is active in multiple charities like Blanket Coverage.
  2. Derrick Coleman – Derrick is the only hearing impaired athlete in the NFL, so crowd noise definitely does not bother him! I love the following Duracell commercial about the Seahawks fullback, and this selfie made me feel good about the professional athlete who takes time to inspire others.

  1. Demaryius Thomas – As a Broncos fan, I love watching this big receiver “play small” with his balance, breakaway speed, and soft receiver hands – while still shedding tacklers, or out-leaping them, on his way to the endzone. I appreciate his soft-spoken demeanor and politeness on and off the field. You would not guess that both his mother and grandmother are in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine!
  2. Peyton Manning – Call me a Broncos homer, but I think Peyton Manning is the poster child for “all things right” in the NFL (as well as one of the best pitch men to ever get endorsement deals). His longevity, work ethic, proficiency, leadership, and sincerity and humbleness are the rarest of combinations that will probably result in his earning the GOAT label (Greatest Of All Time). I remember hearing his speech for the Sports Illustrated 2013 Sportsman of the Year, and it reminded me why I have rooted for this guy since he came out of the University of Tennessee. Throw in the fact that he is active in charities wherever he has been (Louisiana, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Denver), and he is a graceful and gracious winner in my book – on and off the field. The following video gets good around the 3:53 mark.

I could go on-and-on with details about a few other athletes’ stories (like Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno coming from humble beginnings), but you get the picture. When we hear these stories, it humanizes the players we watch every Sunday, and the stories compel us to become more loyal fans.

We should adopt the same strategy with our brands. Tell our stories. Give our fans a glimpse behind the corporate logos. What are we doing with charities? What innovations are we pursuing? What humble beginnings, or failures, motivate us to succeed?

Do not settle for being a logo or a commodity, but dare to differentiate yourself from the competition with the stories only YOU can tell!

Now, the title of this post mentioned that there would be some Smack Talk, and I do not want to disappoint! So I leave you with this video of a Google+ Hangout I did with my good buddy John Boyle – a Seahawks fan that I hope to console after a Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory this Sunday! Say it with me – GO BRONCOS!!

Photo Credit: Charlie Lyons-Pardue via Flickr

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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