6 Takeaways from Richard Sherman's Rant for Enterprising Brands to Emulate

Kevin Thomas Tully
Kevin Thomas Tully President, KTT Marketing Solutions

Posted on January 24th 2014

6 Takeaways from Richard Sherman's Rant for Enterprising Brands to Emulate

Photo courtesy of YahooSports.com

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.  

Inject Humor

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:  

Be Yourself

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)

Kevin Thomas Tully

Kevin Thomas Tully

President, KTT Marketing Solutions

Kevin Thomas Tully is a communications strategist and consultant living in Pennsylvania. Connect with him on Twitter @kevinttully.

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Comments

ChrisSyme
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 1:24PM

Agree. Seems like sports fans want sports stars to act gentlemanly at every turn, but sports is an emotional gig. As long as we have "sideline reporters" sticking a mike in a player's face right after an emotional moment, we will get raw emotion. Not everyone is ready to say, "I'm so excited I'm going to Disneyland."

Kevin Thomas Tully
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 10:13AM

Chris:

Thanks for commenting on this post. You make an excellent point. It's difficult for even the most polished and media-savvy athletes to control their emotions within minutes after a winning performance in a championship game. Those who can often resort to producing rote and clichéd answers. What fun is that? 

Kevin Thomas Tully
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 10:13AM

Chris:

Thanks for commenting on this post. You make an excellent point. It's difficult for even the most polished and media-savvy athletes to control their emotions within minutes after a winning performance in a championship game. Those who can often resort to producing rote and clichéd answers. What fun is that? 

AlexandraRose
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 6:34PM

Sherman is the Miley Cyrus of the NFL.  We get it, you're the "best" cornerback in the game. But Coke is better than Pepsi. You don't see the Coke polar bears dissing Pepsi. All matter of opinion, but Sherman comes off arrogant enough to make Seattle fans blush.

Kevin Thomas Tully
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 10:01AM

Alexandra:

Thank you for your comments. It's my belief that if you look past the delivery to the underlying brand message, Sherman's true intelligence (consistent messaging, raising brand awareness) is revealed.