As the world continues to reel over the magnitude of the on-going earthquake trauma in Haiti, a ray of hope for eventual healing emerged in an unexpected place — New Orleans — and in an unexpected arena — the Super Bowl. It has been five years since the world watched as Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the levees surrounding that city and resulted in the death of more than 1,800 residents and forced a massive displacement for thousands of families.
The New Orleans Saints had never made it to the Super Bowl and they seemed to offer little inspiration to a city that needed to learn how to win again. That all changed this year. The Saints were the clear underdogs going into the Super Bowl against the legendary quarterback Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts. Despite a slow start, the Saints rallied to take the trophy 31-17. In the interviews that followed, it became clear that the whole city of New Orleans took this win as their own – and declared the team’s victory as proof their town was back on its feet. Based on the fact that this Super Bowl drew the largest audience of any televised event in U.S. history, there may be an argument that the nation embraced the Saints as well.
While the Saints, and New Orleans as well, seemed to have the odds stacked against them, it all turned around again in a moment. Endless news stories about the generosity of the team members, and in particular the quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton, reflects the now-seamless identity of team and town. The branding of this city and team is a great case study in creating the best possible kind of brand loyalty. Who Dat Nation can truly yell, go, Saints!
For more information on branding, consider attending a special NAWBO-NYC panel – register at www.nawbonyc.org