10 Elite Personal Branding Tips for Athletes

personal branding tips

10 Elite Personal Branding Tips for Athletes

Professional athletes have always been iconic figures for American pop culture. And even if their athletic careers end, the persona they have built around for themselves live long enough for the next generations to consume. One thing that all athletes can use is personal branding tips.

For years, this phenomenon occurred but it was only until recently that a term was coined for it — personal branding. And as the sports industry grew over the years, so did their cultural relevance. Nowadays, endorsements and sponsorships are not enough for athletic careers to thrive. 

Furthermore, the seemingly constant changes on social media and digital marketing, developing your personal brand has never been more detrimental. With this in mind, Creatitive is here to help both budding athletes and sports brand owners build a strong personal brand for themselves!

But before discussing the 10 golden personal branding tips, let’s first discuss what personal branding really is!

Defining Personal Branding

Wikipedia defines self branding as the practice of marketing people and their careers. It’s described as an ongoing process of creating a personal brand and improving that personal brand.

Personal branding refers to the unique combination of the skills and experiences that makes a person themselves. When your brand is effective both online and offline, you’re able to differentiate yourself from other professionals in your field. 

Most brands often start their process by creating customer profiles based on an athlete’s existing following. Branding experts would use the data they’ve gathered to identify the right brand identity that would work for their client!

Almost — if not, all — professional athletes and thought leaders invest a lot in creating their brands. Some of the great examples of athletes transcending their personal brands from the playing field are Lebron James and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 

LeBron has been in the game for a very long while now and despite the rocky situations he has been with both his fans and his team, his brand grew to become smarter and more resilient over the recent years. He maintained great performance on-court while making a few marketing-savvy moves that kept his brand in the good graces of audiences.  

On the other hand, The Rock was able to pull off the imaginable — transitioning from a professional wrestler to a box-office hit actor. While not a lot of people may agree in calling him a great actor, Johnson has a stable following on social media who enjoy seeing most of his films! 

Building a personal brand shouldn’t be just about promoting the perfect version of yourself, it should be about showing your target audience the best and most authentic version of yourself! 

10 Golden Tips

With almost every marketing effort now being done online, it’s understandable to be unsure of what should be and shouldn’t be done. And because of this, we’ve listed down 10 of the most important personal branding tips!

1. Laser-like Focus

One common mistake for most personal brands is the lack of focus. There are a lot of brands out there trying to be everything to everyone — resulting in a very confusing brand that people have a hard time relating to.

Pick one thing your athlete brand wants to stand for and focus all of your efforts on embodying it. Focusing on one message at a time makes it easier to create content that works for the brand and makes it easier for your target audience to define who you are. 

Other experts suggest carving a niche for the brand but for relatively newer self-brands, it’s best that you pick one message and focus on being consistent with it, no matter the social media platform you are in. 

2. Be True

If you really want your personal brand to thrive, don’t lie to your audiences. Today’s consumers are very wary of well-known personalities and often dislike those who are not genuine with their people.

Additionally, they won’t think twice about calling out copycats when they see one. Hence, it’s best to create a brand that’s based on truthfulness and authenticity. Being genuine makes content marketing less hard on a daily basis. 

You can easily come up with good ideas that resonate with your people. Don’t be afraid of sharing your skills and your expertise, your reputation as a professional is guaranteed to help you cultivate the brand you want!

3. Share your Story

People love connecting with personal brands whose story resonates with them — so share yours! Nowadays, people want a brand with a story that they can engage with.

You can discuss your journey on your career through your blog posts or you can create entertaining videos around your story on your Youtube channel! Personal brands online often use the different platforms the Internet offers in sharing their story. 

4. Consistency is Key

Just as mentioned earlier, consistency is needed in order for your target audience to easily recognize your brand amongst the sea of other personal brands. Experts suggest that brands ensure consistency even in the smallest of details as it can easily derail the effectiveness of a brand.

This rule can be done through your visuals or your messages. Your target audience should be able to easily identify associate your brand with any graphic or ad they see online. 

5. Failure is Key

Admittedly, personal branding can be challenging — just look at what LeBron James went through — but again, it must be remembered that it’s considered a process. Several well-known brands have gone through failed attempts before they were able to become the brand that they are now. 

The process of self-branding is meant to push people past their comfort zones. Hence, experts suggest that athletes prepare themselves for failures and several trials-and-errors. 

6. Create Positive Impact

Once a personal brand has been developed, there are two general directions the brand could go to; it could beat its competitors or it could continue investing in the community it has been able to cultivate for itself — experts and other personal brands prefer the latter. 

A positive mark leaves a better legacy rather than burned bridges. The great things your self brand does will help it grow healthily in the long run. 

7. Follow Greatness

Paying close attention to your favorite celebrities or athletes is one great way of gaining a good grasp of the current trends. If you are able to analyze the personal brands you look up to, you’ll be able to gather the right techniques and use them to your advantage.

While it may be true that focus is the number one rule for personal branding, paying close attention to all social media platforms can help you broaden your horizon in terms of strategies and tactics. 

8. Live By The Brand

As mentioned earlier, consumers love following authentic personal brands they resonate with. The moment they sense any ingenuity from a public figure, they never think twice about abandoning the brand. 

Hence, athletes with great self-branding must live by their brand. It should be able to follow them everywhere they go to amplify the beliefs they stand for. 

9. Let People Talk About You

Despite the trends and technological advancements we have today, word-of-mouth remains to be one of the greatest PR a brand can get.

Share the brand’s story and let your audience talk about it. Encourage them to interact with your brand through your social media accounts and share some of their stories every once in a while! 

10. Create A Legacy

Building your personal brand shouldn’t be just about your skills or reputation as a professional. Instead, it should be about leaving a legacy. Be it through the community you have built or the lessons you have instilled to your audiences, your personal brand should be able to leave a legacy of greatness and positivity. 

Your Lifelong Project

Reiterating Wikipedia’s definition, personal branding is a process. It will continue to evolve and challenge your way of thinking as most established brands would tell you. There are no set rules in the game of branding, but it’s most certainly a lifelong project. 

With this in mind, professional athletes shouldn’t be afraid to seek the help of veterans who have been in the field long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Agencies like Creatitive can offer great services that takes your personal brand to a whole other level!

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