Commentary

Find Your (Brand) Greatness

If I’m being perfectly honest, I could just write about Nike every week. I expect you’d get more than your fill of innovation goodness. Personally, I think Nike is the marketer/brand of the decade, if not the millennium. (Although, I suspect some folks in Cupertino might take issue. And they could very well have a point.)

With Fuelband, it has taken yet another effortless stride from being all about professional runners and running into a multipurpose, versatile brand that is all about active lifestyles and living. They even seemingly bypassed amateur running and other sports in order to get there.

My fellow Westport neighbor (or ex-neighbor) was a delightful lady named Martha. She wore an ankle bracelet for a while to indicate that she was betrothed to the Department of Corrections. I am likewise “tagged,” except that in my case, I am submissive to Nike and have been since March in Austin, Texas, at SxSW, when I first purchased and started wearing my bracelet.

For those of you who are living blissfully on a remote island somewhere, the Nike Fuelband is a sort of a pedometer that measures daily steps taken, calories burnt and “Fuel” earned. Fuel is Nike’s proprietary and algorithmically determined measure of activity or what I called “Universal Currency” in my book, “Flip the Funnel.”

The Fuelband deploys slick design, obvious social peacocking (bragging and talking smack between Facebook friends) and gaming (badging, milestones) to create a water resistant masterpiece. Perhaps another time, I’ll go into more reasons why I think it’s the bomb!

In this piece, however, I want to talk about Nike’s “Find your Greatness” activation platform, which has been used pretty powerfully with “reality” stars, such as morbidly obese 12-year old Nathan Sorrell from London, Ohio, in a bizarro twist on Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. It uses real, flawed, plus- or minus-sized humans as spokespeople, versus the celebrity-laden, retouched incumbent approach.

So what happens when you put 1 (technology) and 1 (creativity) together? You get 12, August 12, 2012 to be specific. #findyourgreatness Day. On August 12, all Fuelband users had an opportunity to set a “world” record of Fuel earned in a single day. A global challenge uniting every single customer. In addition, individuals had the opportunity to set their own personal best and break their records.

Clearly, I wasn’t backing down. I started my day with an eight-mile run. Followed it up with baseball and soccer in the back yard with my son, and went for a two-mile stroll with my daughter. This is what I had to do in order to eclipse my long 4 ½ hour walk spoiled playing golf from a month back. I broke my record. Tweeted it. Facebooked it. Checked in. Checked out. Rested. Iced. Compressed. Elevated and at the end of the day, proudly stroked my two “collectors” badges to prove to my adoring fan base of tens that I had found my individual greatness and played my part in this virtual activityfest.

Looking back, I see yet another way that Nike has been able to connect the dots and live large in a world where technology-led innovation is a blessing and not so secret weapon in terms of walking the talk of consumer engagement, communal activity, advocacy and passion-led conversation -- while earning plenty of consumer credits in form of Fuel in the process.

So what’s your equivalent of Fuelband?

Where’s your (brand) greatness?

Does it exist? If so, how are you bringing it to life and if not, isn’t it time to explore your own intersection of Madison Avenue and Mountain View.  I’ll even give you a complimentary hashtag to get you motivated.

On your marks. Get set. Go!

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