Tony Horton Shows Us That “Keepin’ It Real” Is Still Great Advice For Brands Using Social Media

P90XAnybody who knows me knows I’m a huge believer in the benefits of Tony Horton’s P90X programs. I’ve seen and experienced the life-changing results of these programs, so trust me on this. You want to get fit? Just do it. You can thank me with beer. I know, Tony. Alcohol bad. Very bad.

As a social media marketer, I’m compelled to comment on Horton’s live-streamed interview yesterday, where he treated viewers to some straight up doozy quotable quotes and trademark smartass behaviors sprinkled throughout a candid window into the thinking and personal training philosophy that goes into the creation his P90X workouts, and the companion supplements and nutrition program available to help P90X-ers achieve their goals.

Social media marketing guys like me advise business owners to “be transparent” and “real”. To let their personality come through the messaging, especially when their personality is deeply embedded or entwined with the brand. While tremendously effective, this kind of marketing can make a business owner a little uncomfortable, even nervous.
Bob Parsons

Think GoDaddy.com’s CEO Bob Parson “keeping it real” and going viral with the elephant he killed on safari. But, he’s the boss, and everybody who knows Parsons knows he’s a big game hunter, and GoDaddy.com’s products and services are a known quantity and a solid brand. I’m sure some customers left GoDaddy.com because of the CEO’s blood sport, but it’s likely just as many people liked this about Parsons. So did “being real” hurt GoDaddy.com’s brand? While it certainly cost them some PR damage control money, it’s unlikely the flap had much of a bottom line impact in either direction.

Nobody would question that Tony Horton is P90X and P90X is Tony Horton, but minutes into watching last night, I was struck first by the latitude Horton seemed to have while answering questions that were being fed to him live via the Beachbody.com Facebook and P90X Twitter communities. He was clearly pulling his answers from his personal experience and expertise. There was nothing scripted about this event.

Horton’s level of passion became brutally evident at times, when he was asked questions about diet and motivation. There’s no doubt left in the viewer’s mind where Tony stands on these issues, and occasionally, his over the top rants bordered on inappropriate, even, off-putting. Like when he said, “I was born of an Albanian whore.” Funny, right? Unless you’re Tony’s mom, but – she knows her boy and I’m sure she knows he’s prone to get a little caught up in his passion from time to time. No harm, no foul, Momma Horton.

Tony Horton

Notice the vein popping out of Tony Horton’s neck!

Horton’s passion and conduct during the live streaming chat – his realness – while brash and funny and, at times, a little cringe-worthy, couldn’t possibly have been a surprise to Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler, Horton’s P90X collaborator and friend. Daikeler has known Horton for years, and I have to believe he’s seen his buddy in action quite a few times, so where I was holding my hands over my eyes at times, the crew in the studio were laughing their asses off.

The windup was, in the process of watching, I became even more of a believer in the P90X brand and the brains behind the brand.

Today when the recorded interview became available for those who missed it live, I checked to see if perhaps they’d edited out any of Horton’s antics, but they hadn’t. It’s all still there, unvarnished and real.

So if you’re on the fence about personalizing your business and your brand using social media, but you’re nervous about the spontaneous, real-time nature of the channel, look at your customers’ brand loyalty. Look at your record of quality and customer satisfaction. If you score well on these basic pillars of doing good business, go ahead and let your customers behind the curtain. Tell them what you’re thinking, why you do what you do, and ask them what they’d like to see from you in the future.

And if you’re wondering what all the fuss over P90X is about, or are thinking about making the time to get in the best shape of your life, fix yourself a final meal of cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke, get comfortable, and enjoy P90X brand ambassador, Tony Horton. You’re going to love it.

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