Speaker of the week: Tony Hawk
Blog Nordic Business Forum 2016 Past Events

Speaker of the week: Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk, the best-known skateboarder in the world, is a hero for many skateboarders, yet also sets an example for marketers on how to build a brand. At Nordic Business Forum 2016, Hawk will be speaking under the theme of Marketing.

Hawk was only 14 years old when he became a pro-skateboarder and already two years later, he was considered to be the best skateboarder on the planet. He has won more competitions than any other skateboarder; over 70 competitions during his 17-year professional career. Hawk was also the first person to land a “900” which means he made 2,5 turns around his longitudinal axis in the air and landed successfully on the ground on his skateboard. And he even did it again in June 2016 at the age of 48 (watch here).

It’s obvious that Hawk has impressed the world with his incredible skateboarding skills, but during the years he has also become an accomplished entrepreneur. Though it hasn’t been all that easy. In the early 90’s Hawk went almost bankrupt as the skateboarding scene experienced a huge decline in popularity. Despite the difficult times, he believed that the sport would rise again, and in 1992 started his own skateboarding/clothing brand Birdhouse. As it turns out, he was right. Birdhouse has become one of the most successful skateboarding brands in the world.

However, Birdhouse isn’t Hawk’s only business pursuits. In 1998, he started an apparel company called Hawk clothing and in 1999 the video game giant Activision teamed up with Hawk to establish a video game carrying his name. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series has now surpassed $1.4 billion in sales.

Hawk trusts social media in spreading the message of his brand. He is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and in each platform his followers are counted in millions. He also runs a Youtube channel RIDE, which now has over a million subscribers. RIDE provides fun, yet valuable content for skateboarders around the world.

Hawk also believes in giving back to the community. In 2002, he established the Tony Hawk Foundation, which provides grants and technical assistance for new skateboarding parks in low-income communities. To-date, the foundation has awarded over $5.5 million to 569 public skatepark projects in the U.S and $100,000 to support the Skateistan program in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.

At Nordic Business Forum 2016, Hawk will speak about finding success by doing what you love and about reinventing your brand. After his speech, Seth Godin will moderate a short Q&A session with Hawk.

Top picks from the speaker:

  • If you’re interested in learning more about Hawk’s journey to the top, you should read his book ‘How Did I Get Here: The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO’.
  • We got the chance to interview Hawk for the newest Nordic Business Report about connecting with your audience. Read the interview here.
  • Watch this clip to see, what Hawk thinks about being an entrepreneur and building a brand around doing your own thing 

More on Tony Hawk:

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