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Building a Brand that Became a Super Bowl Superstar

Just like the high school football star who dreams of playing on the sport’s biggest stage, many smaller brands dream of competing in the big leagues of their industries. What does it take to get there? Hard work. Check. An innovative product. Check. But in my view, it also takes something else: a brand identity and marketing tools—especially an online presence—that can give a start-up the swag and gravitas of a blue chip.

Ephesus Lighting began like any other start-up. Eager, aggressive and passionate. Recognizing that they share space with LED lighting category giants, Ephesus tasked Eric Mower + Associates with helping articulate who they were and what they wanted to be.

From a small Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY, to this year’s most prestigious football game, Ephesus’s energy-efficient, performance-enhancing lighting will be seen by 43 million viewers worldwide. Their innovation will light the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona on Sunday. And we’ll see many other stadiums quickly follow suit, including the Minnesota Vikings, who are already contracted to install Ephesus lights in their new stadium next year.

To play with the blue chip competitors, Ephesus needed a brand and a position—one that allowed them to measure up to legendary lighting brands like GE and Philips, and one that reflected the high quality of their breakthrough product. Building innovative LED solutions for commercial and entertainment/sporting facilities, Ephesus needed to outshine its competitors with a smart marketing strategy and a strong brand position.

EMA built the brand on the insight that buyers know they should be moving to LED lighting but can’t risk making the wrong move (which, by the way, can result in a packed stadium blacking out at the worst possible moment). Those who are bold enough to make the switch will shine, literally and figuratively. And so the theme— “It’s your time to shine”—was born, and with it, a brand with energy, magnetism and purpose.

Ephesus had a solid marketing plan in place and a high-performance look and feel no other competitor could match. Opportunities began to evolve from recreational auditoriums, to NCAA fields and stadiums and AHL arenas. And then the NFL came knocking.

So I’ll be tuning in on Sunday to watch the game, the ads, and to watch Ephesus light the field. Without interruption. With a solid brand and position, Ephesus Lighting has quickly become a brilliant example of what can happen when breakthrough technology teams up with big-game caliber marketing.