The Power of Shared Symbols

Once upon a time I held the noble and endearing job of being a sixth-grade teacher. 

One of my students, we’ll call him Brady, definitely qualified as a 1% for Nike. Every backpack, hat and every visible piece of clothing he wore, bore the Nike Swoosh.

At one point I asked him what the symbol stood for and he was unable to say. However, this question led Brady through a relentless, self-imposed, research project to learn more about the emblem. We even persuaded the school to pay for the charges so he could interview someone in the marketing department up in Beaverton, OR.

In her book Monster Loyalty, Jackie Huba talks about this sort of drive and the connective power individuals sense when they embrace a brand’s symbol. For Brady, his embossed daily wardrobe and school gear helped him feel part of all things Nike.

Shared symbols are everywhere. This week I looked around my home and work and found a fistful of examples.

Here you can see Susan Yule, CEO of ConsultNet, sporting the company’s newest t-shirts.

photo (6)At SoulSalt Academy, coaches in training learn how to ask powerful coaching questions. This emblem supports one of the main points in a specific module.

don't ask why

Racer’s in X-terra events find temp tattoos in their SWAG at sign-in.  The intention is to foster unity among the athletes on the course during races.

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And speaking of tattos, Jackie Huba committed her left ankle to the Pittsburg Steelers logo.

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Now before you decide on the symbol your tribe will share, do your research. Experiment with logos, emblems, icons, and even mascots. Find out what attracts and unifies your client base.

You may even start to notice the symbols your 1%’s are sending you. The following is a collection of items that we have been given. We can’t say yet what role they will play in becoming a future SoulSalt Inc. shared symbol. However, those of you who know me can see these drawings are on to something. Even if all they do is capture and mirror back to us aspects that are near and dear to my heart such as: my collection of eyewear, my favorite belt buckle and of course, my love for wearing a tie now and then.

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“Live Strong” Joins “Live More”

Two powerful influences connect this weekend to bring an international focus of hope and transformation to the mountains of Utah.

Lance Armstrong announced last week, days after celebrating his 40th birthday, that he was coming “to have fun” at the XTERRA USA championships held in the Snowbasin area just above Ogden. Anyone who knows much about Lance knows that his” idea of fun” involves competition. What you might not know is that he started his athletic career in triathlon races twenty three years ago.  As a young man Lance ranked number 1 in the 19-and-under age group. So Saturday’s participation will be an exploration for him to determine if XTERRA off road events are going to be the venues for his career transition.

I was delighted when XTERRA posted that Lance would be joining our ranks. It makes sense that the founder of Live Strong would pick an Xterra event for his potential debut.  For example, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. supported by the XTERRA Foundation, was designed to inspire, bring hope to and improve the quality of life of wounded American veterans. Certainly they live up to their motto: Live More!

Lance’s own foundation identifies the issues faced by cancer survivors, and then works to improve the quality of life for members of the global cancer community. Thus his tagline: Live Strong!

So here I am tipping a hat to Lance for deciding to join this Utah XTERRA event.

And I’m sending a huge thank you to the folks who run XTERRA events.  You do an incredible job of producing high-quality, professional off-road events that indeed do challenge and inspire us to Live More!