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Super Heroes Inspire Us. So Do Great Brands.


Every year around this time, a legion of super heroes lands on movie screens around the world. Ever more extravagantly, they generate hype, break box-office records and gain greater and greater popularity. “Indeed, ever since the Superman and Batman films took America by storm in the last century, and Spidey spun a lucrative web with “Spider-man” in 2002, supers have been a money-making mainstay.”

This month marks the start of the latest blockbuster season with “Batman-Superman: Dawn of Justice” joining the ranks.

The supers are heroes because they rescue the world. They are the strong that save the weak. They defend the helpless, inspire little kids and, like a Bat Locater, find the little kid in adults too. They also reach us by being more than just cartoon cutouts.  Each one has a story. And in that way, every one is their very own unique brand (with a logo) unto themselves.

Back in 1939, Batman’s parents were killed right in front of him by a petty thief attempting to steal his mother’s necklace and inspiring young Bruce Wayne to spend the rest of his life fighting criminals. He does this not only by becoming physically strong, but also by using his intellect to become a master scientist. Likewise, a young Kal-El (known to us earthlings as Superman) is sent off on a rocket ship from the planet Krypton bound for Earth where he will become a savior to humanity.

Indeed, almost every super overcomes incredible adversity to become a hero.

So what does this have to do with brands that inspire? Well, just as those super heroes spark something in all of us, so too should your brand.  It should address a difficult problem through the strategic thinking and innovative ideas that went into its birth.  Then, it needs to rescue consumers by solving a difficult problem for them — from the simplest and most everyday kinds, as Bounty “the quicker picker-upper” does, to making this a better-functioning world (IBM, “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet).

In each instance, brands become the needed link to help you – the consumer – reign over your world.

Still more aspirational are two brands that truly focus on the heroic—Nike and Under Armour.  Each in its own way positions itself as helping the consumer (athletes, in this case) overcome tough obstacles in order to achieve fulfillment.

Of course, they are both massive, multibillion-dollar giants.  Yet, you don’t have to be a giant  to be a hero. You can also be an Ant-Man. Do you face an army of much larger competitors? Is your modest marketing budget keeping you from using all the strength at your disposal?

There are innovative and ingenious ways to have your small size inspire a large crowd.