Posted by David Oates 2 weeks, 4 days ago

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As a die-hard Padres fan, I relished in Sunday’s Baseball Hall of Fame celebrations for several reasons, not the least of which came from having something to celebrate about my team who’s current win-loss record leaves even the most ardent follower struggling to stay positive.

My relief came in the form of…well…a reliever. Seemed fitting. There he stood, six feet of all-time great standing on a stage where only 225 other players out of more than 19,000 to ever play the game at the major league level did before.

Trevor Hoffman, HOF Class of 2018.

What struck me most of the occasion didn’t come from statements of his 601 saves, the several 40-plus save seasons or the incredible longevity of a career few other closers came close to matching. The takeaway points for me stemmed from Trevor's remarks about his teammates now lifelong friends, his mentors, his family and his appreciation for what life provided. In his speech, Trevor celebrated the work he put into it, not from a boasting perspective, but one that honored those responsible for helping him along the way and validated their teachings. In particular, he cited his brothers, his father, his mother and several coaches and players. Trevor even thanked his trainer, a person most athletes never mention, for his role in helping him last in the Major Leagues for so long.

Trevor’s brand, you see, extends far beyond an individual, and now embodies a community.

As a marketer/PR guy, it hit me. Trevor’s popularity and persona surely originate from the man himself and his achievements. That’s not enough, though, to build a longstanding brand that will span generations. Others must embrace it as their own for that to occur. They must believe in you to the point that they are not just admirers, but participants. Trevor’s brand is one of embracing San Diegans and the baseball community far and wide. He mentioned such in his remarks, commenting how he loved being a “Padre for life” and how he hit the jackpot for spending 15 years in San Diego with the same team. What he did in those instances was invite the community to share in his public life. He did so willingly with great sincerity.

Companies take note. When you put community before self and combine it with a durable product, unquestionable work ethic and appreciation for the opportunities ahead, you will create a Hall of Fame foundation that can carry your organization far. 

In other words, be like Trevor Hoffman.

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