The passing of Stuart Scott has left the media world saddened, but in his brief time with us, Scott has left an on-air legacy that will stay with American sports and pop culture for years to come. A lot of us were brought up watching Scott on Sportscenter and, consciously or not, we learned a lot from him just by watching.
1. Be original- The best content is original content derived from the heart. Stuart Scott was certainly original in his approach, and it is one of the many reasons why he was so loved.
2. Be different- Scott was different in so many respects. Most obvious was his "lingo" and "street-vibe" that he offered up to his audience. Unlike most of his cohorts, he took a risk and brought a new style to the ESPN set. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so when Stuart Scott’s lingo was spoofed on Saturday Night Live, it was evident that the nation was embracing his style.
Video source: Yahoo
Your marketing should be no different-- Do you want to live in monotony by following the herd of advertisers and marketers who largely go unnoticed due to lack of originality? Or, would you rather invest time and creativity into a marketing concept so your message will be remembered? If you were following the Stuart Scott school of thought, you certainly would choose the latter of the two options.
3. Be personable- Ask anyone at ESPN, and they will tell you that the Stuart Scott on the air was the same Stuart Scott with his family and friends. It is why so many people felt like they knew him without ever meeting him in person. His journalistic style was one that created a casual, but ever-sticking bond with each viewer. In a 2002 interview on National Public Radio, Scott said, “every sentence doesn’t need to have perfect noun/verb agreement. I’ve said ‘ain’t’ on the air, because sometimes I use ‘ain’t’ when I’m talking. Stuart's personality was loved by even the greatest of athletes-- Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant. The relationships, Stuart Scott developed with these superstars, personalized the famous athletes as much as Stuart personalized himself on ESPN. He turned the biggest stars in sports into “just folks” which in turn made their accomplishments on the field that much more impressive.
In marketing, your message should be personable. It should represent who you are as a company and the people that make up your business. Over time, this natural approach will create raving followers for your organization. This approach certainly worked for Stuart Scott.
4. Know Your Audience- Stuart Scott knew who he was speaking to on a nightly basis. Integrating phrases like "Boo-yah" and quotes like "cooler than the other side of the pillow", not only earned the attention of his core viewers, it also captured the attention of the most casual sports fans. By speaking to his audience in a relatable tone, Stuart’s perspective gained massive attention across the globe.
In marketing, speaking the language of your core audience is crucial. If you miss on this part, nothing else matters. If you hit it out of the park, like Stuart Scott did, your marketing will produce results beyond any reasonable expectation. Scott took knowing your audience to the next level and turned it into “know your audience to grow your audience.” He was brought to ESPN in an effort to attract a younger audience and to grow the new ESPN2 network. His ability to entertain allowed ESPN to move him up the ranks and bring that younger demographic over to Sportscenter and everything else he hosted.
5. Stay the course - Nothing got in the way of Stuart Scott doing what he loved most. Not even the worst of cancers could hold him down from delivering the message as if he was on top of the world. Because he refused to let anything derail him or his message, his audience became spoiled with a unique and stylistic delivery of the sports news with that special cherry on top. Even in the toughest of times, Scott stayed on course with his one of kind sportscast.
Unfortunately, in marketing, we do everything but stay on course. We mix messages, lack consistency, take little to no risks and lack any originality. In the end, most marketing messages fail to break through the clutter and noise because they are just ordinary. Just as Scott's love for his work showed in his delivery, your business motivations should be displayed in your marketing. Confucius said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” While that is great advice, conveying the love of what you do in your marketing is what attracts others..
One of the things I remember most about Stuart Scott’s career was his passion for golf. I wonder (and there’s no way to prove this one way or the other) if Tiger Woods’ meteoric rise in golf would have translated into as many new golf enthusiasts as it did if Stuart Scott weren’t on Sportscenter every night telling America how amazing Woods was. Even with a hip new phenom like Woods, golf could have easily been buried under football, basketball, baseball, or hockey. But, when Scott would comment on Woods’ highlights with the same level of enthusiasm as he did a Kurt Warner touchdown pass or Shaquille O’Neal blocked shot, America saw a serious uptick in not only the number of people watching golf, but the number of people playing it.
Do you have any special memories of Stuart Scott? If so, please share them with us so we can discuss how those memories may relate to marketing.