Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Context is everything

There's nothing unusual about a Harvard graduate. There are tens of thousands of them around the country.

There's nothing unusual about an American male of Taiwanese descent.

There's nothing unusual about an undrafted free-agent becoming a successful NBA player.

Put these all together in the center of the media universe, New York City, and you have a sensation. (Sorry, you won't get any Lin____ puns from me.)

This is as clear a branding lesson as has ever occurred in pro sports. Jeremy Lin is getting so much attention for four reasons.
  1. He's different. See above.
  2. He's relevant. In pro sports that means winning. Believe me, no one would care how many points he's scored or assists he's dished out if the Knicks hadn't gone on a seven-game winning streak.
  3. He's authentic. This is not a manufactured, pre-packaged sports star. This is not "The Decision," Metta World Peace, or Blake Griffin dunking a basketball after leaping over the hood of his sponsor's car.
  4. He has a platform. With all due respect to Oklahoma City, Portland or Detroit, this wouldn't be as big a story were it happening in any of those cities. Awareness matters when building a brand.
So if you want to be the next big thing in branding, all you have to do is be like Jeremy.

1 comment: