Author Archives: Leslie Zane

How Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Sport” Could Soar Higher


Lots of COVID ads tell us “we’re better together,” but Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Sport” really scores.

Like many Nike ads, “You can’t stop sport” captures the spirit of perseverance that fuels athletes. But during COVID, it has a universal message because today, everyone—from elite athletes playing ball in empty stadiums to parents and kids playing ball in the driveway—needs to harness that tenacious spirit.

This message of triumph over adversity, combined with a highly distinctive visual device, used throughout the 90-second ad is what makes it break through. Using a split-screen visual device,

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Creating Perceived Superiority

Holding a soccer trophy in the sky

Want to know the secret to creating perceived superiority? Don’t tell anyone your brand is superior.

Brands have spent years trying to obtain superiority claims. In fact brand leaders spend millions of dollars in R&D improving their products, conducting competitive testing and massaging their claims in order to claim their product is better than that of the competition. Consumers prefer this coffee brand over that 2 to 1; 80% of people agree that super cleanser Brand X kills germs better than Brand Y. There are a lot of overstatements but those superlatives are not matched by superior results. 

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How the COVID Connectome™ Reveals What Will Come Next



Leaders who think COVID behaviors are going to be temporary, risk making an enduring mistake. The COVID Connectome™ is a network of associations that is already embedded in our subconscious and will be driving people’s instinctive behaviors for years to come.

In my last post, I explained that Brand Connectomes® are like trees made up of a network of branches. The COVID Connectome™ has a large trunk that separates into two major clusters: “Preservation” v. “Perseverance.” These two networks are struggling against one another for dominance in the brain. 

What will it take for the economy and your business to recover from COVID?

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Triggering Growth in a COVID World

Anyone who believes COVID behaviors are temporary is going to be in for a very big surprise.

Massive changes are taking place due to the pandemic and every leader is trying to determine how their business will be affected. The problem is that no one can see into the future. But you can do the next best thing, peer into customers’ subconscious and see how their instincts are changing.

Last year in Knowledge@Wharton, I shared my discovery about what drives our instinctive choices—intricate networks of brand associations accumulated over time. These associations are years in the making—some going as far back as childhood.

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