The next big ideas come from inspired people.
Where do you go for marketing inspiration?
The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon: a mission that’s been held annually since 1978 and requires athletes to test their mind, body, and soul against a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run without a break. Now also held throughout the world, most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race, making the grueling test that much more difficult.
What sets these athletes apart from you and me? Are they born with this determination or do they teach themselves to be strong-willed? I’ve been an athlete my entire life and I’ve had my fair share of challenges, battles, wins and defeats, but the thought of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, followed by running 26.2 miles … well, I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced a test of this stature (yet).
You see, I have always been involved in team sports, so I fully understand what it means to be a teammate: to pull your own weight but also to work as part of a unit, to put your trust in your teammates, and to represent the name displayed across your chest to achieve a common goal.
Ironman triathletes come from a variety of athletic backgrounds, typically train with a coach/coaches, but, at the end of the day, rely on one person to achieve greatness: themselves. These athletes have no one else to pick up the slack if they fall behind and there are no substitutions. They put their trust in their mind, body, soul, and training to conquer the elements and cross that finish line.
When you take a step back and analyze what it takes to be an athlete, no matter what the sport, you start to recognize a lot of similarities to the world of marketing. Whether you’re a triathlete, a teammate, or an employee, you’re representing a brand: your name, a color, a logo, a city. The effort you put into your work or craft is the stamp that is left on that entity.
Branding is crucial across all facets of both the sports and marketing worlds because it’s what we, as fans or consumers, associate with, gravitate towards, and, ultimately, spend our time and money on. It takes commitment, passion, sacrifice, and striving for excellence to maintain a strong brand image.
This understanding can inspire us to reimagine our limits and to set our sights higher to achieve our goals.