Tyson Fury may just be a boxer, but somehow he has found the secret to mass appeal.
It is indeed a strange world we live in; a world were it is possible to make a living off fighting. I find the whole thing totally bizarre. The idea that someone could decide that their life is going to be all about training and fighting. But here we are, in the 21st century, where it is still possible to make money with your fists. Not just money; big money. And not just a career; but becoming a king – the Gypsy King, as Tyson Fury has become.
Now, for many of you it might not be so surprising. The fight game has always been a very lucrative profession. However, it has been a long time since the world has been so captivated by ‘big-time’ boxing. It seems, since Mike Tyson stopped knocking people out, boxing, at least the heavy weights, has lost a whole lot of appeal. But now the world is turned back on. There’s a new and eager audience. And that raises a vital question for all of us.
What does it take for a person to become such an impactful brand?
Tyson Fury has not helped revitalize boxing because he’s pretty, or smart, or even because he is a good boxer. Though he is a good boxer and that does play a part. However, the world has not been captivated by Fury the boxer – it’s Fury the brand that has crowds chirping once more about boxing.
The same could be said about Wilder, and maybe they needed each other. But here we will focus on unpacking the marketing appeal of Tyson Fury, to see how the Gypsy King has brought back excitement to big time boxing.
What is Tyson Fury’s marketing appeal?
Or, more importantly for us, how do we get people to go nuts for our thing, like they have for Tyson Fury and boxing? I mean boxing hasn’t changed, it’s still the same old Marquise of Queensbury rules. And it’s still just one-on-one, big tough guy versus another. There’s no new punches or manoeuvres. But somehow, ‘big time boxing is back’.
What’s the big secret of marketing?
In short, I think the secret is, you need to inspire us.
At least that seems to be the key to Tyson Fury’s mass appeal.
And the key to the marketing appeal of ‘big time boxing’.
We get excited and we start to follow because we a see a story that is inspiring. Fans follow the undefeated – can he keep the belt? Punters cheer for the underdog – can he go the distance? Can he do the impossible? We back in the nice guy, we tremble at the image of the villain. We are inspired by hope, heroism, hate, fear, anger, redemption.
That’s what makes a great story, or product, or celebrity. Not just in boxing.
For Our Thing:
So, what about for our thing, for your business, or your writing, or just you and me out and about. Do we have an inspiring story to tell? Are we maximizing and shamelessly telling our story?
I know I for one am definitely not making enough of my story. I’m sure I could inspire the audience. A comeback from extreme obesity, overcoming my anxiety to find my confidence, conquering my shyness to be here sharing stories with you all. A true underdog in life, who rose up to find his voice and try to inspire others.
Even now as I write it, it feels weird.
But that is the inspiring story that Tyson Fury tells. And he does it shamelessly. And his people, and many casual viewers, love it.
Now, I’m not saying I love the man. I’m not saying he’s a good guy. But he has captivated mass appeal. Even I find myself falling for the image, the story, the symbol, the BRAND that is Tyson Fury.
So, what’s the brand that is Tyson Fury?
He’s the man of the minute. The 6 foot 9, Gypsy wanderer from the UK, who is now the two time, undefeated heavy weight champion of the world.
He’s a confident ‘sweet scientist’, a super skilled boxer, who came out and shocked the world in his dramatic and totally unexpected destruction of the destroyer Deontay Wilder. He talked the talk, he walked the walk and he delivered on the big stage in front of the whole world.
But he’s more than a 6 foot 9, bald headed, rough talking and gifted pugilist. No, he’s become a symbol of much more. He inspires people to believe in the ordinary man, the outsider, the man of self belief. All these contradictory stories seem to strangely work and make Tyson Fury a brand people want to follow.
Here’s 3 reasons why Tyson Fury is a great BRAND.
1. He inspires belief
People like him because he inspires with a likeable story.
He is the battler – even though he’s undefeated and he has many natural talents for boxing. But he’s the battler, because of his struggles with mental health and battles with addiction.
After he first became the heavy weight champion, he fell into a massive depression. He gained weight, he drank and did drugs, and he was virtually suicidal.
Many people can relate to this story. Struggling with the pressures of life and the expectations of living our hectic fast passed careers and lifestyles, we often feel the pressure and feel like breaking. Or, we use food and substances as a crutch. Or at the very least we know the temptation to be weak.
In this way, he seems very human to us and we see him as flawed like one of us.
And then he returned. And he didn’t look like the iron-man image of perfect destruction that was his opponent. He looked like the average man from the pub. And he was indeed the underdog. He came out of his break and he seemed he wasn’t ready. In fact, many thought he would get seriously hurt.
And there was something in that story of this battler living on the edge, risking it all, with the threat of getting totally wiped out, that we could relate to our own lives.
But he survived the first Wilder fight. He seemed to ride his luck and use all his skill. He surprised us and we felt that we were there with this average man getting ‘lucky’ and being ‘tricky’ and surviving the great fears with him.
He inspires people to dream, that even the down and out can stand up against a titan.
2. He has standards
He’s not just a thug. He’s a boxer. Tyson Fury has trained his whole life and he has skill. He loves the sport and he respects it. And that makes him a very marketable brand in the boxing world. He is not a puncher or a fighter, he is a boxer. Those that follow the sport, or even those that just drop-in, will see or hear that he knows what he is doing. He has trained his whole life. We respect the skill and the dedication to the craft he has chosen to follow.
Think about what area you are in. Are you a skilled practitioner or a hack?
For example writing, are you actively enhancing your skills, working for years to be an artist who can craft beautiful lines. Or are you looking to stun with the headline, set up for the big right, and knock a few bucks out of your audience.
Then think about which style gets respect and followers.
Think about which one you respect. For me it’s obvious. When I see writers out there who are clearly better than me, I think good for you, I’m going to follow and learn. But when I see hacks who are ‘killing it’ with ‘cheap tricks’, I turn straight off.
We admire skill and respect those who have earned it.
Furthermore, do you turn up for your fans?
Tyson Fury turns up for his fans. He says what he will do, and then he does it. And more than that, he knows he has to entertain. I don’t think for one second he’s as crazy as the persona he puts on. But coming out and taunting Wilder, wearing a crown, dressing as Batman, sticking out his toungue, is all part of the show for his fans.
This makes for a very marketable brand. When people know their product is there and they can rely on it and they also know it aims to please, well then it inspires a loyal following.
In short, as a boxer, as a celebrity, as a showman, as a leader of people, he has champion standards. Also, he does it without coming across as an arrogant bastard.
3.He has personality
Finally, he has personality.
As a product, a brand, Tyson Fury is unique. He’s not the countless other boxers lined up, he’s the Gypsy King.
Now he’s not body-pretty like Wilder or Joshua, and he can’t rap like Ali, but he has a larrikin style and an honest presence that people are attracted too. He tells his story, warts and all, and doesn’t hide his embarrassing moments. People are drawn to that honesty.
He stands out from the crowd because he allows himself to have colour. Yes, maybe he says things that are wrong, and maybe he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you know where to look when he’s in the room. He has presence, because he has a personality. And his fans love that.
Think about your own brand.
Does your skill, be it writing or whatever, stand out from the rest. Are you honest? Do you speak openly and honestly with your tribe? Are you confident enough to show your colour?
Anyway, great questions for me to contemplate in my own craft.
I started out here because I was surprised at the mass appeal of this odd-ball boxing star. I was most shocked by my own affinity with this loud-mouthed larrikin from the UK, who I had no reason to care for.
And that has taught me 3 valuable lessons about creating and marketing a brand.
Tyson Fury’s fans love him because he has an inspiring story, he has standards that they appreciate and he has a likeable personality.
We should follow the example and look to find our inspiring story, raise our standards and let our personality shine.
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