Creation of a Marketing Empire
Location: Southern California
Social Media: @briandeegan38
Sponsors: Monster Energy, DVS, Mickey Thompson, Gibson Exhaust, Odyssey, KC, GoPro, Feld Motor Sports, Metal Mulisha.
Brian Deegan, Motocross legend, off-road racer, Metal Mulisha founder and team owner, businessman, and creator of a family marketing empire. The Deegan family is making their mark in the action sports world, to say the least. Pressbox MX was fortunate enough to chat with the legend himself about marketing tactics and how his 17-year-old daughter, Hailie Deegan, is breaking glass ceilings racing against the guys in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Hailie Deegan is the first woman to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 and the first women to win NASCAR Rookie of the Year, Brian Deegan is a proud dad. Here is what he had to say about building his empire in our exclusive sit down interview.
What advice you can give to aspiring athletes about marketing in the powersports industry?
Deegan replies, “With your phone, there are no excuses anymore. You have to learn how to use Instagram if you don’t then you need to study it and learn it. You need to learn how to do the basics – hashtag, comment on every page, and source the things you want to attract. You can really build your community, and when people comment on your page, you always have to respond. Engagement is huge. Your social media is your community, build that. The problem is people think, “I want to blow up and have thousands of followers” well it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. So what is key? Content. Whatever I am doing I always make sure to take some pictures of cool stuff that I know will interest my audience. When I go to post that photo, I hashtag very generic terms that I know will get a lot of people outside my designated audience now looking at my page. People always say, “Dude there are people out there with way more followers than you.” The difference is I engage with my community.”
Brian Deegan has been working on his social media for over 10 years now. As he said before it doesn’t happen overnight.
Deegan suggests, “To grow a strong social media following, you are looking at about a two to three-year plan, at least. It takes time, but it is all about the effort you put in. You can’t be shy. Sometimes I will even go do some funny stuff and do my own skits, people are like, “your too old dude,” and do you think I care? Nope, I am having fun enjoying the ride and people seem to take to that.”
As his marketing tactics excel, so does his children’s. Hailie, Haiden, and Hudson are all very driven kids making their mark from NASCAR to Motocross. With his family always in the spotlight, Brian has his hands full. Here is what he has to say about having his kids so active on social media.
Deegan expresses, “I try to be careful with Hailie, she is 17 now, but she is a beautiful and social woman. People say bad things on social media, and it is hard. I protect her still. Hayden, I don’t protect as much, he is a boy, and the whole industry is primarily men. As a woman you have to decide, “Which way do I want to attract followers?” It is easy to use the typical girl attraction of the looks and stuff to attract followers, that is the easy way. I would rather have Hailie attract followers for being a good racer, being intelligent, and finding your niche. When you find your niche, I think that is when you attract a wider audience.”
Hailie Deegan is a prime example of what a women athlete should represent herself as. We asked Brian Deegan how he was able to shape Hailie to be a great public speaker and representative of female athletes?
Deegan replies, “She is good at talking because she has been doing it since she was little. She has been doing interviews since she was eight years old, and I always taught her that when the microphone is in your face, that’s the fun time! When the microphone goes to you that is your chance to have fun and when they are not sure of what to say, I just explain to them to tell a story. Tell the story of how your day went, how the track felt, how your race went tell them all what happened. The key to interviews and social media is not to be nervous, and you want to talk about your normal life. I have always been pretty good with just talking about my day because a lot happens in my day! Talking about your day is an easy tactic to get past being nervous or not knowing what to say when the microphone is in your face. Hailie is so good because she has had a lot of practice, she will throw some sass in there at times, but at the end of the day the interview will always end in a respectful manner.”
With a good-looking, driven, and passionate daughter such as Hailie Deegan we asked Brian how he deals with men who just want to hyper-sexualize her online and how other female athletes can address this problem?
Deegan replies, “I just block them. If people cross the line, I just block them. She is still a kid in my eyes, we have had her pretty focused on racing, so she hasn’t gone out to be involved in a lot of that stuff. She is living her best life. In the end, I do things my way. With my new documentary Bloodline, I really get to show people that I do things my way, I have done that my whole career. Because I have always done things my way I lost my kidney and I had a lot of beat downs because I did things my way but a lot of the times I have come out on top. Do things your way and as long as you are happy you can never go wrong.”
We asked Brian Deegan, who has been through many hard times of his own, how he got past the struggles and continued to learn from it?
Brian Deegan expresses, “I think that is the most important times. I go through hard times now, I deal with people saying no and stuff happening, but I always figure it out and learn from it. I hate getting mad, and I’m pretty good at not getting mad because I look at things and think to myself, “is it really worth getting mad over?” I always look back and think how great my life is! My kids are healthy, my wife is happy, and everything is good. I try to look at things differently and learn from my mistakes. I try not to do it twice.”
To the racers who might lash-out when they lose, what advice would you give to them?
Deegan said, “I have so much desire and passion for racing. I love it. But if someone beats me or beats my kids, I try to teach them to congratulate the opponent even if they do not want to. When you congratulated the other person since they had a good race, it humbles them.”
Haiden Deegan trains for racing motocross with Ryan Honstein of FTT ActionSports. You may remember reading Honstein’s FTT ActionSports article right here on Pressbox MX. We asked Brian Deegan how they have been enjoying FTT ActionSports Motocross training academy?
Deegan replies, “It is going really good. With each person, you have to find what works best for them. Ryan does really good with Hayden because Haiden likes structure, they work really good together. Ryan is really scientific with his training methods.”
Wanting to learn is the first step to obtaining your goals, we asked Brian what his take was on having the desire to learn?
Deegan replies, “It is crazy to me that people in their 40’s or 50’s can feel like they know everything and are set in their ways. They don’t understand that they are not even close to mastering what they think they are good at. Everything I do I’m not even close to mastering it. With parenting, how do I master that? That is a whole nother battle. I just like learning, and you have something to learn from everybody.”
Final question and we are taking it back to motocross. With the recent #Makeup2Mud movement, it has sparked a fire in women motocross athletes and aspiring athletes, if there is not a spot for women in professional racing, where is there a spot for women in the motorsports industry?
Deegan suggests, “I think Hailie is going to break a lot of barriers. Motocross and Supercross you have more physical factors with the male and female anatomy. If you are a female and you love racing, car racing is an absolute real sport that a woman can be a champion in! I think Hailie is going to break those barriers and she is going to show girls that there is a possibility that can happen.”
From being one of the pioneers of Freestyle Motocross to the takeover of four wheels racing, and building a marketing empire along the way, the Deegan family is one to watch! Bloodline: The Brian Deegan Story is now available on WatchESPN and ABC!