Build Your Tribe Like Chad Ocho Cinco

In an economy where many individuals and businesses are struggling to keep afloat, those who use creativity, and leverage the power of the Web, are having a tremendous amount of success. It’s all about engagement these days. It doesn’t matter if you’re engaging 20 people, or 200,000. By building relationships and having conversations with your community, you can achieve your goals. In this post, we are going to show our readers how a NFL star is building his brand by engaging his tribe through online social tools.

Lewis Howes, Author of LinkedWorkingSeth Godin Marketing Guru

Seth Godin, THE leading marketing thinker of our time, wrote and entire book on building and engaging “your tribe” (affiliate link). Mr. Godin defines a Tribe as, “a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea”. I know a lot of people read Seth’s book, though I’m not sure that one, Chad Ocho Cinco, was one of them (Chad, please correct me if I’m wrong – I’m not trying to sell you short my man).

From my perspective, it seems like Mr. 8-5 just has an intuitive sense on how to build, and engage, a community of people. We, as business owners, can learn a lot from studying how Chad Ocho Cinco is able to leverage the power of the Internet, in order to connect with, and engage, his target audience.

Chad Ocho Cinco, originally known as, Chad Johnson, is a professional football player for the CincinnatiBengals. With that said, you may know Chad from his recent appearance on Dancing with the Stars, maybe you know him through Twitter, or perhaps you’ve caught him on his USTREAM channel, The Ocho Cinco Show. See, we thought that Chad Johnson was just a football player – Yes, he was known for his entertaining antics on the field, but that’s where the fun stopped. But secretly, Chad was living a double-life. You see, Chad Johnson is a Super Hero for the NFL. Through his own efforts, he’s been able to build a tribe of followers, many of whom are new NFL loyalists solely due to Chad. Like other Super Heroes, Chad Johnson has an alter ego – it’s Chad Ocho Cinco. On Ocho Cinco’s tool belt, you won’t find the stereotypical Super Hero tools, like the grabbling hook, you’ll find a smart phone, Twitter, USTREAM, and Facebook.

Chad Ocho Cinco Personal BrandChad Ocho Cinco is a pioneer, not only for the NFL, but for Professional Sports Players around the world. If you ask Lil’ Wayne, he might tell you that Ocho Cinco, “is a monster in the game, similar to the Loch Ness”. See, Chad Ocho Cinco has gone from funny personality on the football field, and a Pro Bowl player, to one of the biggest Personal Brands in Sports [period]. Changing his name from Chad Johnson, to Chad Ocho Cinco, was a brilliant guerilla marketing move. Guerilla Marketing is all about using creativity to do a lot with a little. Nobody has ever pulled off a stunt like this before in Professional Sports, and it generated huge amounts of publicity. Chad leveraged that publicity to start building his tribe through the Internet.

Ocho Cinco connects with everyday people on Twitter, Facebook, and USTREAM. He’s approaching 1 million Twitter followers, has almost 280,000 connections on Facebook, and almost 10,000 followers on USTREAM. If you thought this guy was just a football player, you must have only been paying attention to his equivalent of Clark Kent, Chad Johnson. Chad Ocho Cinco has a tribe of loyal followers bigger than some fortune 500 companies – over 1 million people. It’s pretty incredible. Can you imagine if Chad ever left the Bengals? His new team would instantly gain hundreds of thousands of fans.

Chad Ocho Cinco does a lot of things that small businesses can emulate (when it makes sense), in order to build your tribe:

  • Chad has decided to use three main online tools, Twitter, Facebook, and USTREAM, and he uses them on a daily basis to check-in with his tribe
  • Chad puts himself out there – Ocho Cinco has taken the relationships he’s built online, and started taking them offline. He gives out his cell phone number to his tribe, and invites his followers to catch a movie with him when he’s in town. Ocho Cinco genuinely tries to get to know his tribe members, both online and offline.
  • Ocho Cinco uses his online tools to promote upcoming events, like new episodes of Dancing with the Stars, or charity outings. He uses the tools to build awareness prior to the event. When he can, he tries to live tweet from the event, and then he engages his tribe after the event to find out what they thought. Almost everything you do as a business can be turned into three separate promotional opportunities, and Ocho Cinco executes this perfectly.
Lil Wayne Content Marketing

Chad Ocho Cinco has used online social tools to become a Super Hero for the NFL. He has gone from a Pro Bowl receiver to one of the largest Personal Brands in all of Professional Sports. He’s changing the game for all current and future professional athletes. One of Ocho Cinco’s recent tweets captures his trendsetting perfectly, “Dear NFL players (rookies n vets) I’m not Jay Z but the #blueprint has and is still being created for on~off field #success #letsgetit”. Ocho Cinco is mapping out a blueprint for how other Professional Athletes, and even business owners, can be successful with social media.

Chad Ocho Cinco might not be Seth Godin when it comes to Marketing, but then again, he’s much more likely to create, manage, and market a multimillion dollar business after his playing days are over, than Seth is to catch touchdown passes from Carson Palmer. Mr. 8-5, thank you for showing small business owners how they can use online social tools to connect with, and engage, a tribe of their own.


  1. Johannes – Thanks so much for the comment. I actually saw your post during some of my research. I was hoping to link out to it, but didn’t really find a great opportunity. With that said, I see that you’ve linked your comment, so people still have access to your post, which is great. Thanks again for taking the time to read the blog and post a comment.



  2. Great article Ryan and, as you said, something that any business can emulate. The key here is in the phrase “Chad puts himself out there.”

    He makes himself available and connects with his followers. It’s like Gary V wrote in “Crush It” (well worth reading by the way). “Find something you’re passionate about and be authentic. The rest follows.

    People follow and are attracted to real people who care about what they’re doing. Interestingly enough, this describes most small business owners. Most of us do what we do because we genuinely care. This is where the small business can “crush” a bigger company since many of their employees could care less and are working for a paycheck.

    Connect with your customers. Get to know them and, more importantly, let them get to know you. Let your passion for your business shine through and people will flock to you.

  3. Awesome comment Jim! Thanks so much for taking time to put it together for our readers. You’re spot on as usual! For more from Jim, check out:

    Thanks again!



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