In case you’re wondering, I had a great SUPER time in Indianapolis on Super Bowl weekend. The city did a fantastic SUPER job with every detail that I could see, including replacing positive descriptors such as great, fantastic, nice with the word SUPER at every possible opportunity. “Have a SUPER day!” rang out at the close of every encounter, thanks to the 8000+ volunteers who had bought into the plan.

By all accounts, Indy’s Super Bowl production was a success. The week leading up to the big game impressed pretty much everyone, including me. What impressed me even more, however, was the year leading up to the event. I have learned many lessons from this planning/communicating/marketing success story.

Many, many months ago, I signed up for every mailing list the Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee offered. Even that early in the game (so to speak), the volunteer roster had already filled, so my intent was to at least follow along vicariously. It didn’t matter that I live in Fort Wayne and not Indy’s east side; I learned all about the First & Green effort. I have no intention of ever knitting a stitch, and the only purls I’ll touch are spelled P-E-A-R-L; I still followed the Super Scarves effort every stitch of the way. I eagerly awaited photos and progress updates on the Host Committee’s Facebook page. I devotedly read every weekly update published to my inbox (and thousands of others) by Alison Melangton, the Host Committee’s head. I soaked it all in.

Over the course of the year–and especially after the event went off in SUPER fashion–I learned and re-learned a lot of lessons. In no particular order, here they are:

  • Transparency matters. One of the things I appreciated most about all the planning and preparation was the regular updates on the state of affairs. By the time the big week rolled around, there were no unpleasant surprises.
  • Organize, organize, organize. The committee got started early and put together a capable staff.
  • Every detail counts. From the visible (scarves identifying volunteers, cookies and cards from schoolchildren for every hotel guest) to the unseen, the committee vigilantly addressed every possible detail. Seeing dozens of school buses lined up to shuttle people out of downtown to their respective parking lots on game day was just awesome.
  • Use all the tools at hand. The committee did a tremendous SUPER job using all forms of media to reach people. Aside from the traditional channels, social media played an integral role in getting the word out. One of my favorite examples is the use of Twitter during Super Bowl week, when concierges would tweet available restaurant seatings for those of us who weren’t able to get reservations. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, print, TV, radio, word of mouth…they all have their place and can bring terrific SUPER results when used effectively.
  • Bring your passion. It was very clear to me that all the people involved with this effort were truly passionate about it. Passion is what moves the lackluster to something special. It’s easy to see when it is present, but it is equally apparent when it is not. If you truly care about what you do, people will notice, and more often than not, you’ll find it’s contagious.

I loved every minute of my SUPER weekend in Indy. The experience itself was wonderful SUPER, but looking at it through a marketer’s eye was just as exciting for me. I just loved watching everything fall into place after months and months of careful, deliberate planning. I’m already finding ways to apply those lessons in my own endeavors.

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