If you watched Sunday’s football game between the 49ers and Seahawks, you likely saw the game-winning play where Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman deflects a pass to the end zone to 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree.
The play thwarted the 49ers attempt to take the lead with mere seconds left in the game and now the Seahawks are now going to the Super Bowl.
And, even if you didn’t watch the game, chances are good you’ve seen Erin Andrews’ epic post-game interview with Richard Sherman.
If you’ve missed it, here it is in all its glory.
Now, at first blush, the interview is harsh, foolish and disrespectful. And, maybe that’s all it is.
But, if you dig a little deeper, there’s something more to the interview than you might think. There’s a reason why we can’t stop talking about Sherman and his interview.
And, if you think about it, there are actually some lessons here for
businesses that want to stand out and get noticed.
Lessons in Branding
Here’s what I think we can learn from Richard Sherman:
1. Have swagger (and back it up).
It’s one thing to say you’re the best. It’s another thing to say it and be able to back it up.
Although most people wouldn’t want to brag, Sherman had no problem making a bold statement. And, perhaps he had the right to — he just made the game-winning play to take his team to the Super Bowl. Not many players can say that.
If you’re business is extraordinary, are you owning up to your greatness or are you hiding your strengths and accomplishments? If you don’t tell customers and prospects about what you bring to the table, people will pass you by and look for someone else who will.
But, just like Sherman, you need to be able to back it up.
2. Be consistent with your brand.
The way Sherman acted in that interview was consistent with his brand. He’s brash and bold and he’s not afraid to call people out.
If he changed his demeanor during that interview to play into what people expect, it would have gone against his entire brand personality. In fact, Beats by Dre launched an ad campaign Sunday
featuring Sherman’s reputation as a trash-talker.
Sure, his behavior isn’t for everyone. But, I’m willing to bet there are people who love him for being just the way he is.
The same goes for your business. Don’t try to be something your not. Stop trying to please everyone and focus on staying true to yourself and your brand.
Embrace your weirdness. Showcase your personality and be willing to take a stand.
Sure, you will have some haters. But, those that love you will be strong, loyal fans that will stand behind you no matter what.
3. Dare to be different.
Most post-game interviews are filled with boring sports clichÃ©’s. “It’s all about the team” or “I credit the fans for helping us get here.”
However, Sherman’s interview was bold, different and memorable. He didn’t recite the boring lines that everyone expects after the game. He dared to be different and it’s likely an interview most sports fans won’t forget.
And, it seems to be paying off as his popularity has soared overnight.
Businesses can learn a lot from this. Sadly, we have the tendency to try to copy our competitors or blend in with everyone. However, if you do that, why would anyone choose YOU?
Dare to be different. When you do, you’ll have people talking about you — and hopefully, for all the right reasons.
4. Show emotion.
If you had just made the game-winning play, wouldn’t you be pumped? I know I would be.
That interview was packed with emotion. He was excited and he showed it. He was acting how most of us would after accomplishing such a feat.
“It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am,” said Sherman in a column he penned for Sports Illustrated.
How much more interesting would business communication be if we weren’t afraid to show our feelings and emotions? It would certainly humanize your brand and your efforts more interesting, don’t you think?
What you don’t want to do
Despite the positive lessons businesses can take away from this interview, there’s one important thing Sherman demonstrated that you should never do as a business:
Talk smack about your competition.
That is not the best way to get noticed. In fact, that could have the opposite effect and completely backfire for your business.
After all, Sherman has since apologized for attacking Crabtree in the post-game interview. Just imagine how much worse it would be for a brand to be in the position of apologizing for doing something similar.
You don’t want to get in that position.
I hope that you realize I’m not suggesting you go out and act just like Richard Sherman or that your brand starts yelling during media interviews.
In fact, you probably shouldn’t unless that’s your brand’s personality.
But, I am suggesting that we can all take a page out of Sherman’s book and inject some passion into our work and humanity into our communication.
Be bold. Be human. Be yourself.
Keeping it real is never a bad way to go and I think that’s one of the biggest lesson brands need to learn.
What do you think?