Finally: An athlete who realizes who really signs the paycheck.
Using the video sharing platform Tout, NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal tipped his hat to his massive fan base by announcing his retirement Wednesday … from the comfort of his home. Four million people who follow O’Neal via various social media channels knew about the decision instantly. A global wave of news coverage followed Shaq’s announcement.
His fifteen-second clip — which pushed through Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and e-mail at roughly the speed of light — set O’Neal apart from the pack yet again. With that fifteen-second announcement, O’Neal not only proved that he had enough class to bow out of a great career at precisely the right moment … but also that he has a much better sense of the dynamics of social media than many marketing executives.
O’Neal gets it: He saved the (boring) traditional press conference for later, and used his video announcement to say “power to the people” to his loyal followers. I say bravo, and I wonder if my industry is paying close enough attention to what just happened.
“We did it,” he said, smiling. “Nineteen years, baby. And I want to thank you very much. That’s why I’m telling you first: I’m about to retire.”
The operative word there, in case you missed it, is “we.” Social media has changed the way that companies report good news, bad news, and news about everything in between. It has turned a message designed for a small crowd of reporters into an ongoing conversation with a global audience. The “we” Shaq reached out to on Wednesday engaged — and expanded — the universe of people who are interested in, and willing to pay attention to Shaq’s brand: Shaq. Building up and engaging with “we” is the task today’s marketers need to think about.
Shaq promised to keep in touch. My guess is he will be keeping that promise.
Has your brand built a powerful “we” yet? Shaq’s has.
Is your brand strong enough to get four million people within that “we” wondering what’s going to happen to the brand next? Shaq’s is.
Youtube: Shaq Announces Retirement