Sandra Ericson|Jan 10, 2012

I’ll start with a disclaimer: Our office has a lot of Gators. There’s no hiding that. But the legend of quarterback Tim Tebow transcends NCAA affiliations and religion. It’s a story of inspiration and the human desire to believe in something greater – whatever that may be. Here’s a good primer on Tebow and his lore in case you haven’t been following.

Walt Disney was a great example of how fantasy and inspired thinking can translate into major brand dollars. Year after year, people endure unbearable heat in never-ending lines to ride the Disney World attractions we’ve been on hundreds of times. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, I hear people are paying in excess of $30 at Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Do people think these wands perform real magic? Harry Potter isn’t for babies. These are rational people who have long since learned the difference between fantasy and reality. But we believe – and we buy – because we are human.

That’s what’s so amazing about Tebow and this ride we’re all on. I would venture to say Tebow probably has as many haters and skeptics as he does diehard fans. I can understand why. Is he really such a model guy? Does he really deserve all the attention, considering his skill set? If he was Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, he would never get his team into tough fourth quarter situations in the first place; Brady or Rodgers would just be ahead the whole game. Isn’t that what we want out of our leaders?

In the end, inspiring people is the greatest thing we can do as brands, regardless of what naysayers will inevitably say. (Just ask avid Droid and PC users how they feel about Apple). Belief is one of the strongest emotions one can incite, because that’s what makes us humans instead of robots.

It doesn’t matter if Tebow is not that good. He is inspiring his team to play better for him and bettering the sport by inspiring fans, even if just for a moment in time. Many people say it’s not Tebow who wins the games, but the ability of his offensive line to protect him. Well, why do you think his offensive line does that? Is it possible they’ve been inspired?

On December 8, Tebow set a Twitter record by having 9,420 tweets per second about his overtime win. That’s more than the royal wedding, the passing of Steve Jobs and the raid on Osama Bin Laden. Specifically, many Twitter users mused on the fact that Tebow broke the yards-per-completion record with 31.6 and threw for 316 passing yards. The Bible verse John 3:16 is known to be a Tebow favorite, which he displayed on his face paint during the 2009 BCS Championship game. OK, do you believe now?!

When building or reinvigorating a brand, think about what differentiates you and what your value proposition is. Above all, think of what inspired the brand and its creators. Craft that story and sell it first to your employees – your number one evangelists – and then to your audience. Make sure your brand stands for something deeper, something inspirational and something that can instill action in your target audiences.

Yes, Tebow loves a higher power, but he also loves football. No one can argue that, especially his teammates and the sportscasters that seem to radiate in his presence. He believes, and he’s making us all believers too.

What does your brand believe in?


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