Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch “announced” his retirement on Sunday during the second half of the Super Bowl. And he did it in consistent fashion….without words. The entire staging of this whole event just goes to show how smart Lynch is when it comes to business.
It’s all about the brand, boss.
Here’s the deal – Lynch knows that today’s athlete is more than just someone who competes in a team or individual sport. Each athlete – especially the high visibility ones – are a brand. Brands have longer life spans than athletes; they can be forever. Brands are critical to obtaining endorsements, creating intellectual property, manufacturing and selling proprietary products, writing books, giving speeches, and a multitude of other things. The real “action” here is about advancing the brand. Here’s why BeastMode is so brilliant:
- He stayed consistent with his persona. Instead of holding a press conference with throngs of reporters, he tweeted out his signature green cleats hanging up – i.e. “I’m hanging ’em up.”
- He used only visuals. Heck, even is “peace out” was an emoticon.
- He “announced” during the biggest sporting event in the world – and it happened to be his world. Right in the midst of the Super Bowl, where everyone in the sports world in on Twitter, he subtly announces his intentions and it catches fire.
- Just days earlier, he had the grand opening of his new BeastMode brand store in the Bay Area (the same location as the Super Bowl).
- In the following days, both the team and his agent confirmed his intentions. No words from him…just the people in the know, assuming that the speculation was completely valid.
- Suddenly, there is a just a ton of buzz – gratitude overflowing on social media, highlight videos being created and promoted by the team to honor his accomplishments, and national stories circulating about his greatness.
Finally – and maybe most importantly – the timing is perfect. Let’s face it, Lynch will be 30 next year (ancient for running backs that have endured the pounding he has over the past 9 years). He just had his first major surgery and all signs indicate the team was moving on with a younger running back. Based on his personality, it’s unlikely he would find a good fit with any other team that has any Super Bowl aspirations. He’s saved his money brilliantly – reports are he hasn’t spent any of his nearly $50M earned from salary, living off his endorsement money.
Waiting one more year would not have advanced his brand; in fact the opposite was more likely. If he had an injury-riddled year, played poorly, was viewed as a malcontent, or even was just mediocre, his BeastMode brand suffers. If he walks away now, he’s still BeastMode. he’s a legend in Seattle and his hometown of Oakland and a sports figure that’s last memories are basically from the 2 Super Bowl runs where he played a dominant part.
Here’s your BeastMode lesson for the day – Build your brand. Be consistent. Make waves. Have others talk about you and your products or services. Create a buzz. Be visual. Be innovative. Be bold. Have good timing. Be BeastMode in your world. Be Unleashed.
Download the Periscope app on your mobile device and follow me @danweedin for videos and quick hitters to help you to achieve higher performance and stronger resilience.
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved