The power of passion

The power of passion

The University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium is the fifth largest in the country, hosting 102,455 people at home football games. The stadium looked particularly interesting this past Saturday.

I could also show you some new signage present in the stadium proclaiming the venue to be a zero-waste facility and show you photos of the corresponding composting bins and recycling bins … but the real story Saturday is in what you see in the picture above. This is a story about tapping into passion to create a movement. This is a story about what marketers of sustainability or energy efficiency can emulate to move their programs forward.

It all started when a Vols fan photoshopped a checkerboard pattern onto a picture of Neyland Stadium and posted it on Twitter. Two weeks ago.

The image got forwarded on a lot, and two local web developers saw this was going somewhere. They jumped in and created a website,, where fans could type in their seat number and find out if they should wear orange or white. They also got UT’s buy-in. And by game time,, WHICH DIDN’T EXIST TWO WEEKS PRIOR, had 325,000 page views.

And 102,455 people joined in and executed the vision perfectly.

Can you remember the last time you got 20 people to execute flawlessly on a hastily conceived plan?

That’s the power of passion. And it’s on offer to smart businesspeople – including sustainability and energy efficiency executives – who tap into it.

Though I’m sure the web developers who jumped on this idea are honest to goodness passionate fans of the Tennessee Volunteers, I also have to believe they saw this as an excellent business opportunity. Going forward, when an area business wants a website or a social media campaign created, who do you think they’re gonna call?

The lesson here is this: find something people are passionate about and tap into it for your brand. Give fans of your brand a way to engage, to share, to give feedback. If you do it right, and do it swiftly, you just might create a positive win for your brand and its fans.


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Posted on

October 7, 2014

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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