As everyone knows by now, Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and its surrounding suburbs with record breaking rainfall and flooding. The whole country rallied around Houston with support and donations. But one person used his brand and the internet, while remaining transparent, to take fundraising to epic proportions. As of today, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans has raised an astounding $30 million plus for victims of this horrific disaster.
Watt has been a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year since he was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011. It is safe to say that Watt is known as one of the best defenders, if not players, in the league. This has made his brand, sponsorships, apparel and social media platforms very well known in Houston, his hometown in Wisconsin and all around the country. This played a huge factor in his fundraising efforts because he was able to reach a large mass of people with just the click of a button.
According to Mary Katherine Ham of The Federalist, Watt has become the second-most well-liked player in the NFL, falling behind New Orleans’ Quarterback, Drew Brees. Brees is not only known for his outstanding plays on the field, but also for his efforts in aiding the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. What is the difference between what Brees did and what Watt has recently done? You’ve got it: the internet. While Watt was in the middle of his fundraising efforts, he posted videos on social media every few hours letting his followers know how much they raised, what his next goal was and where the money was going. This was great because it reached the masses so easily and the people donating and/or thinking of donating were well aware of what was happening exactly. Tie in his brand with the internet and you can see why his original goal of $200,000 was surpassed quite quickly.
As I scrolled through social media while relief efforts were kicking off, I saw people posting statements letting people know to avoid donations to certain places because the money trail wouldn’t add up. The transparency Watt gave in his video posts made people feel comfortable about donating because he assured them that the money would go directly to the people. I hope this story of heroism will never cast a doubt on the power a positive brand, the internet and complete transparency can have.
This blog post was written by Account Executive Andrew DeVito.