My new favorite NFL team? The Cleveland Browns.
- The same team that lost 37 of 41 games from 2016–18? Yes.
- The same team that’s experienced 11 consecutive losing seasons? Yes.
- The same team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002? Yes.
That’s right — I like this team because of two hulking figures in their organization that have won the hearts and minds of local Browns fans…and their mere presence have turned this long-failing laughing stock of a team into an exciting and popular national attraction.
In addition, these two have single-handedly increased the value of the Browns’ franchise by eight-figures.
Who are they?
The first one is the quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
Do you know his story?
He originally attended Texas Tech University as a “walk-on” quarterback, meaning he was a non-scholarship player. When Mayfield didn’t win the job at TTU, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma and “walked-on” again — to one of the best college football programs in America — and he had to compete against more hyped and talented quarterbacks on their roster.
The odds were stacked against Mayfield, yet he still became the starting quarterback, won the coveted Heisman Trophy his senior year and became the #1 pick in the NFL — within four years of leaving Texas Tech!
As a marketer — I fucking love this guy because he’s fun, authentic, plays with a chip on his shoulder, and will do whatever it takes to win.
Just last week, he earned legendary status in Cleveland — not on the football field — but because he shotgunned a Miller Lite while attending a Cleveland Indians baseball game. Every fan in the stadium quickly took notice and cheered him on.
That viral gif you just watched? It earned Miller Lite over $5 million in free brand marketing across all media platforms (Advice for Miller Lite, you might want to sign Mayfield to an endorsement deal).
The video is a riot but it’s also a great lesson to you as a business owner and marketer — be authentic, be true to yourself, sometimes be outrageous, and you will build an amazing brand.
The other mountain of a figure in the Cleveland Browns world? New head football coach, Freddie Kitchens.
He’s amazing and I love this guy — here’s why…
It’s not because Coach Kitchens was the quarterback at the University of Alabama when I attended school in the 1990s (I’m not gonna lie, however, it helps), but it’s due to the fact that he speaks his mind in a unique manner (direct, with a charming southern boy twang) and is totally honest and open about how he sees life and his team.
Just this week, when pressed on how his personality will change once the season starts and the Browns lose a game, Coach Kitchens aptly stated (*quote from an article written by Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports):
“I ain’t changin’.”
When asked about earning the trust of his players, Kitchens delivered it succinctly:
“You create respect by showing them that you’re willing to pay the price with them — not by just telling them to pay the price. And there’s other things dealing with respect that doesn’t have anything to do with coaching them hard. Don’t get hung up on that because we’re gonna coach ’em hard, but they’re gonna know we’re in it for the right reasons.”
Where do Mayfield and Kitchens go from here to continue to build their brand, increase the value of the Cleveland Browns as a company and become even more successful?
Well, they need to win.
Here is what you can learn from this:
- Mayfield and Kitchens embody what marketing is all about — honesty, leadership, authenticity, and a little audacity. Follow their story as the season takes off and maybe you can just learn a thing (or as Kitchens would call it “a thang”) or two from how they do it.
- The ultimate marketing success is to win — whether in sports, politics or your business. You can’t win without the best team. The lowly Cleveland Browns suffered for decades until two impactful leaders came together to transform their culture and push the franchise’s bottom line into the stratosphere. Do you have the best team in place to take your company to the next level?
What is the most underutilized tool I use to bring massive success to my corporate clients? It’s the art of comparative advertising. Why? It converts customers at a higher rate than anything I’ve seen in 23+ years of marketing. I share my approach with Matt Brauning, a crazy smart businessman and inspiring coach, speaker, and podcast host, on his show The Driven Entrepreneur. Catch up here.
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