Like iconic in-game performances, memorable postgame tantrums or press conference rants can stay with a brand forever. How many times has someone in your life uttered the word “practice,” only to spark another poor impersonation of Allen Iverson at the podium saying, “Talking about practice”? Or how about the word “playoffs”—made infamous by former NFL head coach Jim Mora. Chances are one of those words has instantly transported you and your friends back in time to relive the now notorious outbursts.
The sad part is that those moments go beyond the words each spoke in the moment. Not only are we transported to those respective interviews when we hear those two words, but unfortunately for each highly acclaimed sports figure, we subconsciously go to each of those events when we hear their names. It’s not just us; it’s the internet as well. At the time of this writing, there is a website dedicated entirely to Mora’s rant about playoffs (www.jimmoraplayoffs.com). That’s when you know your tirade made it.
Incredibly, each of these instances occurred before YouTube, before Twitter, before Facebook. Imagine if they happened today. If a picture of a crying Michael Jordan can become one of the most popular social media memes of all time, what would happen to Iverson and Mora today?
The difference is that Jordan could not have predicted that his shedding of tears would ignite a social media feeding frenzy, but both Iverson and Mora were in control of their own behavior and their own words. Their brands were affected by their own decisions. You need to understand the impact your actions and words can have on your brand for the rest of your life, and in the heat of the moment…just take a breath.