Is this the best piece of “branded social capital” ever?

The other day I was out running in an 11-year-old t-shirt, and it dawned on me that it’s probably the best piece of “branded social capital” I’ve ever seen.

Branded social capital, my definition: an asset (physical or digital) which a brand provides to a consumer, which in turn gives the consumer some degree of kudos amongst their social circle… whilst simultaneously reflecting well on the brand.

Whenever I have a chance, I love to stick on my trainers and hit the road for run. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, and it’s when I come up with my best ideas (that’s not saying much I know…).

Now, as a responsible runner I always try to ensure that I can be seen by other road users – mostly by wearing a bright coloured t-shirt. The other day I was out for a run wearing a luminous yellow Nike t-shirt from a 10km race I ran in… oh my, was it really 2004. 11 years later I still don that T-shirt every couple of months and amazingly it’s still in good condition.Nike tee

Although I’m in the business of “digital”, I realised that this piece of clothing was probably the best piece of “branded social capital” I’ve ever experienced. Here’s why…

  • For the brand:
    • It’s unmistakably a Nike product.
    • You can’t miss it because of the colour.
    • It’s excellent quality, which means it’s good to run in, hence I’ve pounded the streets of London, advertising Nike for free, for 11 years.
  • For me:
    • I was an ok runner back then, so I qualified for a shirt with a big number “1” on front. At the time, and now, that makes me feel good!
    • I have a real attachment with the t-shirt, more than any other piece of running apparel I’ve owned.
    • The date-stamp gets me reminiscing about a fun time.

Other brands can learn a lot from this behaviour, whether it’s as a physical or digital activity. How do you make your customers feel special, while also happily showing off your brand for you?

Do you have a special relationship with an item of clothing? 😉

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