Find the Linsanity in Your Brand

The talk of the NBA, if not the American sports scene, in the past two weeks has been the play of Jeremy Lin. The New York Knicks guard is the latest overnight success (although there is no such thing), endearing himself to basketball fans and the New York market with great play and hitting clutch shots. The key to Lin’s connection with fans is his story. He is Asian-American, Harvard educated, and grounded in Christian faith. Lin has gone from unable to keep a spot on the roster at Golden State and Houston to one of the most talked about players in the NBA.

Jeremy Lin’s success on the court is one matter, but the phenomenon is fueled by his story of a rise from obscurity to stardom and the accompanying “Linsanity” that has swept New York and the sports world. Lin’s statistical performance is noteworthy- he averaged about 3 points per game last year. In his first four games as a starter for the Knicks, his average was nearly 20 points a game. But, the attraction of Jeremy Lin is his story. People want to know more about Lin and have favorable v of him because of the story behind his meteoric rise.

Can marketers capture Linsanity and use for their benefit in their organizations? Absolutely! The power of story should not be overlooked as a connector between a brand and the audience it seeks to engage. In his book Tell to Win, Peter Guber reminds us that stories serve a functional purpose, facilitating retention of information, as well as igniting an emotional response by creating empathy between storyteller and audience. Stories have the power to establish a common ground and humanize brands that are by their nature impersonal objects.

What are the stories that you have to share? Personal triumphs of employees, making a difference in the community, customer profiles, and company heritage are examples of storylines that can captivate an audience. Stories offer a departure from the one-way “our brand is great” messaging on which marketers tend to focus. We have a longing to relate to others with whom we share common interests and challenges. Stories can bring people and brands together, deepen relationships, and even create a phenomenon, as Linsanity has reminded us.

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