For football fans, last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks had all the makings of an instant classic on the field.
Off the field, however, Seattle’s Richard Sherman provided enough post-game fireworks to make both die-hard Seahawks supporters and casual observers cringe.
If you haven’t seen the runaway winner in the category of “Most Dynamic Diatribe under 30 Seconds,” watch this:
While Sherman’s epic interview with Fox Sports sideline correspondent Erin Andrews drew criticism from the sports cognoscenti, the outspoken third-year cornerback provided some unique lessons for enterprising brands to emulate:
Seize the Moment
With a record national television audience looking on, Sherman stated that he was “the best corner in the game.” His frenzied, WWE-style delivery sent Twitter crazy and established Sherman as the go-to interview at the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day – no small accomplishment for someone who plays a “non-glamour” position.
Believe in Yourself
While confidently declaring, “I am the best corner in the game,” among other things, Sherman unapologetically touted his strengths. If your product or service is good, don’t be ashamed to say so. Unlike Sherman, however, an adrenaline-fueled rant may not be the proper platform in which to define your positioning.
Although it may be considered “trash talking” or classless by some, Sherman’s official post-game interview (below) is a lesson in levity. His deadpan delivery and use of the word “mediocre” to describe his opponent, along with his characterization of “A-hole” fans is genuinely funny. It offers consumers a stark contrast to the raving maniac personality displayed immediately following the game:
Sherman is smart. He is an ambitious, high-achiever. A Stanford graduate and salutatorian of his high school graduating class, the 25-year-old Sherman is an NFL All-Pro cornerback, one of the top 22 players in his chosen profession.
He is also authentic and genuine. As evidenced by the YouTube clips, Sherman unashamedly speaks his mind. Much like his play on the field, he is fearless, a risk-taker. How many successful brands do you know with these traits?
Admit Your Mistakes
With the benefit of hindsight, Sherman apologized to Andrews, a veteran sports reporter who appears almost as shocked as the viewing audience during his celebrated outburst. Sherman also later apologized to his Seahawks team mates for being a distraction and diverting attention away from their victory.
It’s a simple lesson: learn from failure. When mistakes are made – own them. Consumers appreciate sincerity and are more willing to forgive brands that demonstrate honesty and continually treat them well.
Maintain Consistent Messaging
It’s no coincidence that Sherman repeated the phrases “best corner in the game,” and “motivates” throughout his media appearances following the NFC Championship Game. With an agreement to promote Beats by Dre headphones, there is a calculated and purposeful ring to Sherman’s word choice:
Sound familiar? Sherman’s not-so-subtle tie-in to brand messaging reinforces his paid endorsement and increases brand awareness. And that makes Beats by Dre very happy.
Almost happy enough to scream.
(image courtesy YahooSports.com)