Well, the Broncos' season is over, but not before Tim Tebowmania reached a fever pitch. I knew it was nearing insanity when both my wife and mother-- neither of whom had ever watched an NFL game on their own before-- each independently told me they were planning on spending their Saturday night watching the game. Needless to say, I was amazed.
It seems like everyone has an opinion on Tim Tebow. Some people love him, others hate him. The one thing that's agreed upon, however, is that everyone is talking about him.
What I find most remarkable is not that a young football player has taken the country by storm, but how he's done it and how clear has been his message.
Ask anyone-- and I mean anyone-- what they think about when they think of Tim Tebow and I bet you get a handful of answers, but they're all centered around Tebow's faith, his values, and his clean-cut image.
Now, you might think Tebow is an idiot, or you disagree with his message, or you think he's an overhyped player, but the key is that you're thinking about him and you know what he stands for.
Stop and think about that for a minute: When you think about Tim Tebow, you don't first think about football, you think about his message.
And I find that fascinating.
Whether you agree with Tebow's values, image, or faith, you know where he stands and you know him for his message more than his job title. Tebow has leveraged his platform as a popular professional athlete to turn attention towards those things he values most. You know he's a football player, but you know him best for his message.
So what does this mean to you?
Well, I believe we can learn a lot from the Tim Tebow phenomenon. Tebow has successfully used his platform to promote his message by using a few basic principles that you and I can also use and apply to our careers, companies, or marketing plans.
Here are the three principles that I believe have caused Tim Tebow's message to rise above his job description of "football player" and resonate with his market:
1. Be Authentic
A recent editorial by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated noted that whatever you think of Tebow and his message, he's a genuine guy. Reilly confirms what so many people have already said about Tebow-- from Urban Meyer, to former and current teammates, to friends who have known him for years. Tim Tebow may drive you crazy, but he's driving you crazy being himself, not some plastic media caricature.
If you want your message to resonate with your audience, you must find your authentic voice. If you're a fake, eventually people will see through the facade.
As the old saying goes, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time."
People can smell fakes the way dogs smell fear-- it oozes through in subtle cues that are difficult to control in every circumstance. If you're a fake, eventually people will figure it out and your message (and brand) will suffer.
2. Be Consistent
Every time Tebow opens his mouth-- and I mean every time-- he says the same thing. He thanks his God. He talks about his faith. He says he's going to keep working to be the best he can be. And he says this stuff consistently-- every single time.
However big your platform, you will be much more successful if you are consistent in your message. Think of the most popular brands you use and love, I bet they have a consistent message associated with them.
Nationwide...is on your side.
The Few. The Proud. The Marines.
Nike...Just do it.
UFC...As real as it gets.
You get the picture. These brands have found their message and they relentlessly hit their theme...every single time.
If you want to use your platform to reach your audience and touch your world, you must be consistent in your message. Figure out what you really want to say, and then relentlessly remind your audience who you are and where you're going.
3. Be Passionate
Tim Tebow is nothing if he isn't passionate. The guy loves his God and loves his family. You know this because you hear it from him all the time and it resonates from the depths of his soul.
If you want to get other people turned on to your cause, vision, or product, you must be turned on to it yourself. If there's one thing that Malcolm Gladwell nails in his book The Tipping Point, it's that ideas and attitudes are contagious. People "catch" your attitude, and they catch it regardless of the words coming out of your mouth.
If you think your vision is spot on, your product great, and your cause pure, let the world know. Let them see your enthusiasm. Let it all hang out. The best sales people, marketers, and leaders are without exception passionate people, and when you study their lives their passion bleeds through the pages of their biographies. Richard Branson. Sam Walton. Oprah Winfrey. Mark Cuban. Bill Clinton. Pat Croce. Bill Gates. Sarah Palin. Steve Jobs. Phil Knight. All of these individuals-- whether you love them or hate them-- have been very effective in promoting their brands and marketing their message.
It's amazing how people will get in line and follow those who confidently march in the direction of their convictions.
If you want to stand out, open your chest and bleed your message all over the place.
Make a mess and don't apologize.
If your message is important enough for you to get excited about, eventually others will believe it's important enough for them to get excited about as well.
So there you have it.
For all you Tebow fans and foes, three Tebow principles to help you do your own Tebowing and touch the world. Apply them today and watch your message resonate more powerfully with your market.