Athletes are the embodiment of hard work, passion, commitment, discipline, and excellence. Thus, they have a high marketing value. Regardless of their sport, athletes inspire people, and the public instinctively looks up to them. These inherent qualities of athletes make them ideal brand representatives.
Consider LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Maria Sharapova. They’ve earned the public’s respect, and people regard them as among (if not the) best in their respective sport. That’s why it’s unsurprising that Nike, which encourages people to “Just Do It” and work hard for their dreams, offered them lucrative endorsement deals.
Before athletes can become brand ambassadors, however, they need to develop a personal brand. Only then can companies identify with them and have the confidence to let them carry a brand.
Branding Helps Shape Public Perceptions
Let’s talk about LeBron James. The world regards him as The King of NBA. He has won three championships (two for Miami Heat and one for the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Finals MVP Awards, four MVP Awards, and two Olympic golds. He is also a consummate businessman with millions’ worth of endorsements and investments.
As talented as James is on the court, he did not accomplish all these on his own. He has a team of brand and business managers consisting of Maverick Carter, Randy Mims, and Rich Paul. These are the guys who helped James shape his image as a businessman and as a brand ambassador.
James, along with Woods and Sharapova, demonstrate how smart branding and management can help athletes excel beyond the sports arena. Although athletes play a significant role in forming their brand, PR managers can help them put a stamp on an image that the public can immediately associate with their name.
Sports Marketing in the Digital Sphere
Today, brand marketing has to cross over from traditional mediums like TV, radio, and print to online channels. Athletes can count on fan support while competing; if they maximize online marketing, they can also garner the same level of passionate support for their non-sports endeavors. The same goes for businesses whose target audience overlaps with that of the sports industry.
In Gilbert, Arizona, where sports field and leagues abound, there’s a large market that’s waiting to be tapped. An experienced online marketing agency that specializes in sports should be able to help athletes and sports brands launch and manage their promotions.
Online brand marketing makes it possible to reach a wide audience and catch people’s attention. Sports is compelling in itself because people view it as a form of entertainment. For athletes and businesses to stand out, however, they need to develop a distinctive, personal brand.