Emotions of Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day and since there are few things more beautiful than the game of football and the men in uniform that serve our Nation, I figured that taking the time to thank both the creator of football as well as our Nations Armed Forces was necessary. The men and women that serve in our military put their lives on the line everyday to ensure America remains the land of the free. Football is nothing compared to what they do week in and week out. In my opinion, every day is Veterans Day. Veterans Day itself specifically highlights the glory and sacrifices that has made this country what it is today. I feel blessed for the freedoms that I exercise on a daily basis and I feel sorry for those who have lost their lives while serving to protect. Veterans Day remains one of my favorite days of the year.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense // Flickr

Emotions are a funny thing, as they can sway someone love or hate an organization. People can tend to associate Holidays, natural disasters, taglines, teams, public figures, colors, etc. with various emotions depending on an array of factors. For example, I liked the Denver Broncos when I was a kid because I thought they were cool for having the same colors as the University of Virginia Football Team. Christmas is exciting for obvious reasons. I associate snow storms with school being  cancelled. Veterans Day is special to me because I absolutely love our nation. While I don’t necessarily support war, I will always support our troops. My father served in Vietnam as part of the special forces, my Grandfather was in the Marines, one of my sisters and her husband both continue to serve in the Army after graduating from West Point, and my other brother in law is a JAG in the Marines. It’s fairly obvious that life is a compilation of emotional things and events. Sports in themselves are very emotional, so when you combine them with major causes or events, the emotional factor skyrockets.

ESPN is a medium that provokes emotions out of people that few other sports networks can. Thousands of eyes watch the every move of the NFL, NBA, MLB, or anything on ESPN- not in a creepy way, but in an informational-seeking way. So when the organizations twitter handles, facebook pages, or websites make a move that may provoke emotions, it probably won’t go unnoticed. What this leaves is an opportunity for sports organizations to tap into people’s emotional rollercoaster and draw them into a forming an emotional tie between a fan with the respective team or athlete.

Thanks to behind the scenes work of public relations professionals who get the ball rolling on forming the emotional ties, spectators then tend to shed tears, get chills down their spine, or applaud in response to those efforts. When the various Holidays are celebrated during the year, I find it kind of interesting to see how the various sports organizations respond to or celebrate the event.

Veterans Day is a great example of an opportunity for sports organizations, such as the NFL, to enhance the emotional gameday experience while thanking those who serve in our military. The NFL can use their name and reputation to get messages across to fans and other stakeholders. Two of the biggest messages I’ve noticed are spreading breast cancer awareness and highlighting the appreciation to our military. Social media is one of the tools that public relations professionals use to communicate messages during emotional times, whether good or bad.  It allows for our generation to simply look on twitter or facebook to form opinions on such events. This “power” and influence, however, can work negatively against an organizations efforts if not handled correctly.

“Companies need to approach their social media efforts carefully—at all times, though especially during a disaster when emotions are running high,” says Michael Sebastian in his article written in response to Hurricane Sandy. From what I can tell, the NFL handled Sandy pretty well, as no obscure posts pertaining to the event on twitter sparked conversation. In regards to Veterans Day, the NFL is continuing its tasteful social media efforts while doing its annual Salute To Service campaign. This emotional event hits home to many, as a lot of folks know a loved one that is currently serving or has served in the past. Putting on this campaign in a tasteful manner is extremely important in maintaining the NFL’s brand, and from what I can tell, it’s doing a good job of it thus far.

Photo Credit: The U.S. Army // Flickr

Step Up To The Plate: Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Photo Credit: NotoriousJEN // Flickr

In response to Hurricane Sandy, several big name organizations have stepped up to help boost relief efforts. Organizations include Radio Shack, Bank of America, Chevrolet, Kellogg’s, and The New York Yankees. If we total the donations soley from the list of the 10 brands that are leading the way in Sandy relief efforts, we come to about $5 million. I find this to be absolutely awesome. These efforts are great examples of how companies step to the plate in times of need. With these moves, organizations not only boost positive associations with the respective brand but will most likely improve its bottom line.
Finding out that the Yankees donated $500,000 to relief efforts through the Red Cross made me want to look into other sports teams and organizations that are also helping the areas that got hurt the most. It’s certainly not anywhere a near complete list, but here’s what I found:- The Seahawks and Sounders of CenturyLink field collected donations at the respective games this weekend.
– An NHL charity game will be played on Nov. 10 to benefit Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University as well as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The game will be played in Franklin, Tenn. and will be between a mixture of people associated with the Predators and Blues.
– Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pledged to donate $1 million to relief efforts.
– The NFL, NBA, and MLB as well as their respective players’ unions, each gave $1 million to the various relief efforts
Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat pledged about $210,000, the amount of money that is equivalent to his game check for the matchup against the Knicks on Friday.

Photo Credit: StudioGabe // Gabriel Li // Flickr

Most of these organizations and folks have a comfortable amount of money, and what better way to use it then to help your country clean up hurricane destruction around the tri- state area on the east coast. New York City hosts a plethora of teams and organizations throughout the year, so it comes at no surprise that there is little hesitation in donating to the area. Hurricane Sandy may have left the east coast a mess, but I find it quite refreshing to see people with the available funds to help clean it up.

 

Empowerment through sports

Few experiences can ignite the seemingly indescribable emotions that sports-lovers discover within themselves when competing, even on the most basic levels.  From first-timers to professional athletes, there is something about sports that keep people coming back. I’m not the only one that appreciates the expression of athletic ability, emotional rollercoaster, feel-good soreness, release of energy, and confidence increase that is gained from playing sports. Athletic apparel companies are in the perfect position to empower people (even the folks that aren’t athletically inclined) through sports. Many companies use this position to leverage its reputation, customer base, trust, brand awareness, and overall tone of their objectives. Companies create this emotional connection with their customers through integrated marketing techniques and phenomenal public relations efforts.

Some of the biggest sports apparel companies have made it to the big stage for a combination of reasons. Besides having quality products, a lot of times you’ll find that those companies are also great at making their customer feel like a million bucks. One of the greatest efforts I’ve seen by a company to empower its customers is Nike. Weiden + Kennedy is Nike’s Ad agency and they are extremely innovative when teaming up with Nike on its efforts.

Let’s start with Nike’s recognized trademark of “JUST DO IT.” Without even researching it, anybody could come up with his or her own general interpretation to still understand the idea that Nike intends to get across. It reminds people to set aside excuses, take the task by the horns, and get the job done. Shirts, bags, billboards, etc. all serve as reminders to get moving and to keep going. The slogan doesn’t target a specific audience nor does it tell the reader what goal to tackle. It’s a versatile, simple, catchy, and awesome slogan.

Nike has made several ads to empower women. The Nike Free Ad features a chick singing while running a horribly long distance to see her significant other. In an effort to remind people of the strides women’s sports have made of the past years, Nike also made a “voices” ad featuring athletes that defied the odds to make their sports dreams come true.

If you look through Nike’s Twitter (there are several accounts that can be followed), you’ll be able to see the inspiring and motivational messages it sends back to customers that have initiated the relationship. On their instagram account, there are numerous pictures that make you want to get outside and run. I’ll leave it to you to check them out to avoid being the spoiler.

These are just a couple of examples of the way Nike is able to tap into various markets with their public relations efforts to ulitamely empower people to go for their dreams. This empowerment movement is on a roll and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. Thank you, Nike, for your valiant efforts in making this world a healthier place.

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Sporting The Color Pink

It’s more than just a fashion statement. Professional athletes wearing the color pink are standing up for something bigger than themselves, their teammates, and their respective sport. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in October and many athletes are showing their support by wearing the movement’s signature color. You don’t have to look far to find it. Halftime shows, jerseys, cleats, socks, wristbands, and game balls are just some of the “pink-themed” things that are on full display in different leagues for the month of October.

Many athletes playing various sports on different levels are standing up for the movement. I found that the most noticeable supporters could be found in the professional Football and Soccer leagues. The color pink on football and soccer fields have never been so prominent.

Brian Bower highlights the various ways the NFL is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month in his article. Now more than ever are leagues tangibly showing their support. Profits aside, it’s spreading awareness, sparking interest, and getting people to take action.

A few MLS players designed their own soccer shoes that sported the pink Adidas logo and shoelaces.  The Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer Association is shown on this blog post wearing the all-pink ensemble.

photo credit: Famous_Amos on flickr

The reasoning behind the theme of wearing pink is to get people talking about and acting upon breast cancer research. According to Cancer.gov the total number of deaths from breast cancer for men and women in the United States are estimated to reach nearly 40,000 in 2012. While many of us are unlikely to find the cure to cancer ourselves, we can support those who are doing their best to do so. The mission is to get people to be proactive about attacking breast cancer. Don’t leave it up to the athletes: spread the inspiration, spread the awareness.