PR Lessons from Marcus Mariota

As we watched Marcus Mariota accept the Heisman trophy this weekend, a few friends commented that “he must have a good PR person advising him.” That may be true, but the best PR pros in the world cannot teach authenticity, humility and empathy for others.

We PR pros can teach style and delivery, but when that’s paired with amazing character, true heroes are made.

Marcus Mariota appears to have all of those qualities in spades. He shook the hand of every former Heisman winner on the stage behind him. In his speech, he spoke about his teammates and how the Heisman represented all of them. And the earnestness with which he exhorted other Polynesians to pursue their dreams and the gratitude he extended to his family and the people of Hawaii felt genuine and inspirational. All of it seemed to come from the heart and from his upbringing in a culture that promotes others over self.

Marcus Mariota has so much more ahead of him, and undoubtedly will have a slew of agents and publicists by his side as he becomes an NFL player. But he will make their jobs easy. We PR pros can teach style and delivery, but when that’s paired with amazing character, true heroes are made.