I am not a sports game watcher, but I do enjoy all the things around sports games (the people, the parties, the conversation, the commercials). Especially the social conversations that spark during, around and after games. This last week I (along with the rest of the country) have been enthralled with discussions about Richard Sherman. And as a result, I have learned a lot about the man, his personality, his background and his marketing skills. Richard Sherman knows what he is doing: people who didn’t know his name before are now talking about him. That is good marketing; he increased his personal brand awareness.

Richard Sherman is the Seattle Seahawks player who spewed angry remarks in the post-game interview after the Seahawks secured their place in the Super Bowl. His rant spurred conversation about him–both good and bad–making him the most talked about player leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl.

“Sherman’s first tweet after the game (shown below) received over 76,000 retweets and 47,000 favorites, by far his most popular tweet. Others on Twitter posted their own reactions, pictures, and thoughts about the interview. Soon enough, seemingly everyone in the country was talking about Sherman.” Source

Was his outburst calculated to project him into conversations this week? I think so. His public presence has been well-cultivated: website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, an enewsletter, an online store, and more. He holds a communications degree from Stanford and he has put this degree to use for his personal brand. By all accounts his is a likable guy. The anger in this interview is not the typical Richard Sherman, but it was performance. Which is exactly why it has received so much attention.

“Asked Sunday if he knew the firestorm his antics could create, Sherman offered a wink.” Source

How has Richard Sherman mastered personal branding?

  1. He has defined his brand “personality” and all of his messages tie back to that personality. Sure, the angry rant was out of character, but beating adversity and criticism are not. His defense to the outburst was that it was a response to a personal attack from a competitor.  Outside of this incident, his content is intelligent, a little geeky, supportive, kind, community-driven, team-focused and inspiring. “While Sherman’s comments may have been ignorant, obnoxious, disrespectful, many in the media have actually supported the All Pro cornerback over the past week. After people have learned more about Sherman, where he’s from, who he is, it becomes apparent that these postgame comments were not the words of a ‘thug’ but rather a player supporting his team and himself. Even Erin Andrew supported Sherman after the game saying about the interview, ‘it was awesome.’” Source
  2. He shares his life experiences in real time. Most of his posts feel like they are actually coming from him and the information he shares feels real. As a result, following fans feel like that have a relationship with Richard Sherman the man, not a marketing manager posting on his behalf.
  3. He diversifies his sharing across multiple channels. Recognizing that his fans are likely following him across all his channels–Facebook, Twitter and Instagram–he is sure to share different content on each of those channels. It feels more organic and raw when sharing is done this way. And followers feel like they are getting a 360-degree peak into his life by seeing it from different angles.
  4. He is honest. His words are unabashedly honest. And he admits when he makes mistakes.
  5. He posts frequently. Social media shares are integrated into his daily activities. He keeps people interested and keeps the conversation going.

Richard Sherman is no fool:

CNN Money reports that Sherman stands to make $5 million in endorsements from his post game rant.” Source

Brands can learn a lot by watching this man skyrocket his personal brand: Richard Sherman has mastered the art of personal branding.

A few of the articles about Richard Sherman I have enjoyed reading this week.

23 Reasons Richard Sherman is Actually One of the Most Likable Player in the NFL

Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is Much More Than Just Talk

Justin Bieber or Richard Sherman: Who’s the Thug?