It’s been quite a year for Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin. Whether or not you’re a fan of the Denver Broncos or New York Knicks, the crazy buzz surrounding Tebow and Lin was definitely difficult to ignore. There wasn’t a day when these athletes were playing that I didn’t see a status update of the popular “Tebowing” meme regarding the former Gator’s quarterback and or a Linsanity reference for the Harvard graduate.
Athletes like Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin are really viral marketing in its raw form. Everything from their background to the games they play – bottom line is people know how to market these players to get the attention of people.
Lesson #1: Let the Underdogs Speak
People like a good story. But, people love inspirational stories that talk about rising up from tough situations even more.
Tebow’s glory days as the Gator’s all-star dwindled once he was drafted to the Denver Broncos as a back-up quarterback. He wasn’t given much of a chance until fans rallied for him to play, and soon Tebow turned the Bronco’s losing record into a 6-game winning streak and which took them into the playoffs.
Jeremy Lin’s story is similar. He was drafted into the NBA and was cut from two teams. The Knicks were also about to let him go – that is until they heard the pleas of teammates and fans to finally give him playing time in place of an injured Baron Davis. Lin went on to taking the Knicks to a 7 straight winning streak.
Fans voiced their opinion to let the underdogs play; while the teams were hesitant, they still took a chance and listened to their fans — which proved to be a good idea. What was the lesson learned? It is always important to listen to the concerns of your fans. Your brand should always have the consumer’s interest in mind when looking for ways to improve your business.
Lesson #2: It’s Okay to Take A Leap of Faith
Tebow and Lin’s circumstances put them in a position where they had nothing to lose. If all things failed, Tebow still had a career in the NFL and Lin still had his Harvard degree.
The Bronco’s and the Knicks had nothing to lose. Both teams were on a losing streak with key players out of the game. The coaches took a risk and the rest became history.
Some brands are wary of innovation, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons. What is the worst that can happen? What if this campaign actually succeeds? It’s okay for you to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to marketing campaigns. Sometimes, marketing efforts are successful when risks are taken and those brands are often recognized as innovative thought-leaders. The initial leap of faith is all it takes.
Lesson #3: Utilize Social to Spread the Word
If it weren’t for Twitter and Facebook, we probably wouldn’t have seen nearly as much hype about Tebow and Lin. People were engaging in conversations within social sites which really helped lead these two athletes to stardom.
Social media plays a big role in the way people receive and share information, and it is also a key element for viral marketing. Drive organic conversations by providing consumers with relevant content at the right time and encouraging people to engage with each other.
So the next time you’re watching a game on ESPN and you see an amazing play, see if you can pick up a thing or two about marketing. You know you’ll be seeing the highlights on Facebook and Twitter by the end of the game.
Ivy Chang, 03.19.12
From Moxie Pulse