3 Things Marketers Can Learn From Marshawn Lynch

3 Things Marketers Can Learn From Marshawn Lynch

American football players in game, quarterback running. Night stadium lights

When I think of Marshawn Lynch, a slew of unrelated words come to mind: hilarious, inspiring, athletic, philanthropic, and… Skittles. He hardly ever gives formal interviews, yet has some of the most famous quotes in the NFL, some of which he has even been trademarked. I would argue that this 29-year-old running back for the Seattle Seahawks might be one of the more enigmatic individuals to rise to prominence in the NFL. Lynch has mastered the role of the modern marketer, and here are three things we can learn from him:

Build a Human-Centric Brand
We all know how crucial brand building is for any company. It helps consumers develop a series of emotions and mental associations with the brand, making the potential  ROI of branding impressive and meaningful — if done right. After being nicknamed “Beast Mode” by his teammates in early 2007, Lynch transformed this term of endearment into something much more powerful: a brand. His “Beast Mode” brand is more than just a t-shirt or hat, rather, it is a lifestyle. If his fans feel a personal sense of accomplishment, they feel as if they have achieved beast mode status. Lynch has taken his branding beyond colors and graphics; it is a physical, human feeling that has the ability to resonate with every single individual. I will fully admit that whenever I knock a presentation out of the park, I feel like I hit #BeastMode status, even if there wasn’t a football that I could spike on the ground in celebration. Marketers, don’t forget that your audience is composed of human beings with real human emotions — capitalize on that by finding ways to make them feel something positive about your brand.

Sometimes Less Is More
Often chanted as a mantra for marketers, this simple phrase is a helpful reminder that we should always strive for simplicity. By focusing in on one specific aspect or differentiating point of a product rather than the full product pitch, marketers can create content that hones in on a sole intention or goal. Rather than overwhelming customers with data points, you’ll help create a strong, easily explained feeling (i.e., I like this product because it is faster, smarter, or smaller).

No one emulates this more than Lynch himself. While some typically associate his notorious NFL interviews as acting out against compliance, Lynch’s simple answers of “Thanks for Asking” and “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” shows us how powerful and elegant simple phrases can be in achieving specific goals.

Be Authentic
The huge shift to digital media and real time conversations between consumers and companies over the past few years have left consumers with a thirst for something genuine and real from corporate marketing departments. Anything and everything you create should be true to your company and what it stands for. Lynch grew up in Oakland, California, a city known for its drugs, gangs, high levels of violence, and ranked as one of the most dangerous in the United States. Lynch now utilizes his celebrity status to seize every opportunity to give back to others. He is driven by where he comes from, and works to give back to his community. Brands — and Lynch — need to fiercely guard their authenticity to remain respected among fans. Before you create any content for your company, you must question how authentic it seems coming from your brand.

So I will leave you with this marketers: don’t forget to channel your inner beast mode the next time you are working on that brand refresh campaign, developing content, creating a webinar, or copywriting. Sometimes less is more — and sometimes you just have to spike down a football and dance (at your desk).