In Marketing

What can baseball teach us about branding?

Possibly the greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera made his career on one pitch: a cut fastball with such a reputation for shattering bats that opposing hitters dubbed it “the razor.” They used to face him with backup bats to spare their best from utter destruction. Rivera refined his signature pitch to devastating effect—so much so that at the peak of his career it comprised over 80% of his pitches.

Find your one pitch

As in baseball, so in life. A successful brand strategy doesn’t require you to be all things to all people. Instead, it’s about finding the signature characteristic that sets you apart from your competition and marks you as a leader in your field.

Concentrating on one skill also provides a clear story about your brand that can be easily transmitted through your marketing efforts. Rivera once summarized his job as “I get the ball, I throw the ball, and then I take a shower.” That’s the kind of succinct messaging you build your marketing around.

The Mariano Rivera Principle

Rivera’s dominance set records for over a decade, gaining him the respect and admiration of his bitterest rivals. But he didn’t need a broad repertoire to achieve this feat; he only needed that one pitch.

Focus your effort on establishing a key message about your brand. Let it become your trademark. Have one thing you’re good at, but be better at it than anyone else.

That’s the Mariano Rivera Principle.

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