Much has been made over Cam Newton’s recent press conference appearance after the Carolina Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night. In case you missed it, Cam wore a hoodie, was on hand less than 2 minutes, and offered extremely short answers to the questions that were asked, before walking out of the room.
Since Sunday night, videos have circulated on social media, sports pundits have offered their 2 cents, and Cam has even answered questions about his behavior – essentially “doubling down” by saying things like, “I’ve been on record saying I’m a sore loser. Who likes to lose? You show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser.”
I originally considered writing a blog about how to lose gracefully – offering examples of what we saw from Cam Newton and then suggesting what you might do differently. However, the more I researched the situation, the more I came to realize something.
All this hubbub isn’t about losing.
Instead, it’s about Branding.
LET’S TALK ABOUT CAM’S BRAND…
In short – Cam Newton is a winner. The guy won a National Title at Auburn. He was the number one draft pick. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He won the MVP award this season. Heck – the guy wears #1 on his Jersey for Pete’s Sake!
In addition to being a winner – Cam is happy! Like, smiling all the time – even after he gets crushed by a bunch of snarling 300 pound linemen – happy! He wears crazy shoes and bold suits. He has a big personality showcased by his GQ wardrobe – And he isn’t ashamed of either one.
Finally, one of the best parts of Cam’s Brand, is what happens after he scores a touchdown. Once Cam reaches the end zone, this undeniably happy guy celebrates with some crazy dance moves (and has been known to aggressively celebrate “in the face” of his opponents) – and then, once the celebration is over, Cam runs up to the stands and hands the football to a young child watching the game (insert high pitched ‘awwww’ right here).
THIS IS CAM’S BRAND
And it didn’t happen overnight… He’s spent YEARS perfecting it!
That’s why so many of us were so confused/disappointed when we saw Cam during his press conference (and during much of the game for that matter). What happened? Where’s the guy who bounces back and smiles regardless of the situation? Why the heck did he wear a hoodie to the press conference? What happened to Happy Cam? Confident, Smiling Cam? Awesome Clothing Cam? Where’s that guy???
Although you may feel otherwise, I’m here to tell you – The majority of our frustration/disappointment in Cam Newton’s press conference is not because he’s a sore loser.
It’s because he didn’t live up to his brand.
I don’t think Cam’s press conference would’ve had the attention it received, had this not been his brand in the first place. After the loss, we weren’t expecting dance moves in the locker room, but we also didn’t think we’d see him being so short. So dejected. So… normal.
By contrast – you know who’s brand went UP during the Super Bowl?
Yup! Even people who weren’t necessarily fans (and wouldn’t know her if they saw her in the parking lot), were completely taken with Lady Gaga’s performance. By most people’s standards, she gave the best performance since Whitney Houston in 1991! She powered through – gave texture and intrigue to a song we’ve heard a thousand times – and absolutely slayed it.
So – Why did her “branding stock” go up so high? I’m guessing it’s because Lady Gaga’s brand is about being over-the-top. She’s known for being outrageous and unpredictable… And therefore, most people assumed she would offer a terrible rendition of the National Anthem! I like her music, but I’ll admit – my expectations were low.
But Lady Gaga fully lived up to her brand. She proved (once again) that her brand isn’t just about being “over the top”… She was also completely UNPREDICTABLE in the sense that – She sang the heck out of the National Anthem – When I thought she would fail (or at least fail to produce something memorable).
I never saw it coming – In fact, I don’t know many people who did! Only in hindsight were we able to say, “That was awesome” – and fully recognize that her performance, 100% supported her personal brand.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR BRAND IS?
Your pageant brand is a representation of who you are and what you stand for. People think it’s crazy – but your pageant brand is what I use to determine if you are capable of winning your state title. It’s how ‘I see you’ through the lens of social media and the internet.
Ladies who have a strong brand, with a singular focus, tend to stand out. Ladies who don’t have a strong brand, and try to offer too many things at one time, tend to fade into the background.
If you’re not sure what your brand is right now, ask yourself these questions…
What stands out about me? What makes me who I am? What am I known for? How am I different than everybody else competing?
If you can determine the answers to those questions, you’re in the beginning stages of building your brand.
When you purposefully solidify your brand for the sake of pageantry – You’re essentially telling the judges WHY they should choose you. Think about it – You’re telling them that you’re not just “in it” for a trip to Miss America… Instead, you want to win because you have a plan to better serve your community – or to promote the Children’s Miracle Network – or to reach people with a message that’s important to you.
And when a judge understands who you are, based on your brand, you’ll get noticed – Guaranteed.
Just do yourself a favor and like Lady Gaga, make sure your brand is consistent with your performance. If not, you may find yourself with the label of “sore loser” – which interestingly enough, seems to be a brand Cam Newton is comfortable wearing.
Carrie Lakey is kind of obsessed with Miss America…
So are 15,000 of her closest friends.
As an avid fan of the Miss America Organization, Carrie began
publicly predicting pageant winners over 10 years ago.
Now, she leads an online movement of fans
known as “Pageant Junkies”.
Learn more about the Junkie Nation
by clicking here.