Batman Means Business

As if you needed further evidence of geeks taking over the world (or #NerdsRule for you twitter enthusiasts), we repeatedly see the press and business bloggers borrowing icons from the pop culture community to explain concepts, make a point and simply attempt to be cool.  We’ll let you be the judge of just how well they’re doing.

Here are a few recent examples:

The Social Media Insider has proclaimed, “Your Brand is Batman.”  Their point is that in order to thrive,  brands need enduring stories – and Batman certainly has a clear, enduring story.  They could have made their case with Robin Hood, King Arthur or even Tarzan, but those characters have never captured the pop culture zeitgeist as well as the Dark Knight.

On the other hand, Rohit Bharvgava, on his Influential Marketing Blog, states just the opposite. He proclaims “Your Brand is Not Batman.”  He homes in on the concept of strategic focus and argues that while Batman has a utility belt that prepares him for any situation (an idea from Batman’s comic book adventures in the 50’s that received campy prominence in the 60’s TV show), brands must pick specific venues for their social media strategy and execute with targeted excellence.

We have no problem with entrepreneurs identifying themselves as superheroes.  In fact, we push that conceit all the time.   What used to be a goofy idea – dressing up in a cape and tights – long ago transcended geek culture to represent heroism, perseverance and individual accomplishment to the broader cultural mindset.  When Michael Port, the author of Book Yourself, asked entrepreneurs about their favorite superhero, the overwhelming choice was Batman.  Was it the cars and gadgets? The trendy dark colors he wears? The Wayne fortune?  Those surveyed all agreed that they identify with Batman because of his intellect, his consistent best-of-his-ability-job performance, the teams he builds and his use of technology.

Lastly, this “Market Like Batman” one-page graphic, posted on Visual.ly, made us smile. The author has a few of his Batman facts wrong, but the big idea is there: Geek culture concepts are hot and have spread far beyond their original tribes. They’re now front and center in our national conversations.

All of which begs the question, “what will it take to turn your brands into Batman?”