Do you ever wonder why athletic icons such as Michael Jordan still resonate as a household name via Nike’s Air Jordan? Aside from being one of the most successful athletes in American history and the sports industry, Jordan’s brand is simply personal branding done right.
Take it from Jordan, for new and emerging athletes, building a solid personal brand is the first step to creating a long, successful career, and it’s not just athletes. After all, your personal brand is one of your most powerful tools for accessing your targeted market. It determines how your fans, sponsors, and the professional sports world perceive you as a student-athlete, college athlete, or professional, and how they remember and recognize you.
Athlete branding is a complex area mainly because there is high competition in the sports marketing industry. It can be challenging for an up-and-coming athlete to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, numerous parts are involved in building a solid personal brand and marketing strategy. Everything must be considered, from tangible elements, like your logo, font choice, and design, to intangible elements, like your persona and brand promise.
How Athletes are Currently Marketing Themselves
Athlete marketing is a subdivision of athlete branding that focuses explicitly on the promotion of athletes, in addition to sports events and teams. The goal is to provide the client with strategies to promote their athletic pursuits and create a brand around their sports career. Athletes should consider the best way to emotionally connect with their audience, build a positive image, and expand their personal brands.
Fans support their favorite sport, athletes, and teams through social media in this digital age. Come to think of it, the internet and other platforms are huge! You probably follow some of your college-sport teams, student-athletes, and your big-time sports idols on Instagram, right? In brand marketing, fan support and attention are interlinked. Creating an athlete’s podcast, establishing a sports blog article, and posting videos on YouTube are all great ways to engage with your fans and build your personal brand.
But why all this effort? Shouldn’t an athlete focus more on their sports career rather than athlete branding and marketing? Possibly, but without a strong athlete branding, everything that follows would be foundation-less and hollow. Remember, you cannot build your entire athlete marketing strategies on sheer will and happy accidents. And you can’t neglect the power of branding and its role in online marketing.
The more fan support and attention athletes get, the more their athlete brand is worth to sports teams, sponsors, and famous sports businesses like Adidas and Nike. Remember what we said about Jordan? These companies are well-known to give million-dollar contracts to athletes with a huge following and fan base. It’s all about creating a positive image helping student-athletes and professionals build a stronger focus on their athlete branding.
The Impact of Athlete-Owned Brands Worldwide
In parallel with Michael Jordan and the lasting legacy of his iconic Nike brand shoes, Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo have also developed strong personal brands. They have successfully launched brand products under their names. Branding is essential to the sports industry and every industry on the planet. The reason why it’s necessary for sports marketing agencies, and businesses in general, is because of the strong impact it will have on your company. A great brand will change how people perceive your personal brand positively and increase overall brand awareness.
A good branding strategy in your athlete marketing is essential. It can help you establish credibility with your audience, connect and communicate with your fans positively, attract potential sponsors, and more. It can even help you gain success and recognition that you can use to capitalize on for your current or future career endeavors, like starting a business after retirement.
(See here for an article that specifically focuses on the purpose of branding.)
It’s also imperative to understand that athlete branding and advertising go hand in hand. Will advertising directly reflect the brand? The most profitable companies, both big and small, have this in common. Put simply, a company is as strong as its brand. To establish yourself as a leader in the personal branding industry, you need a strong brand and, for that matter, a strong logo.
How Sports Marketing Changed Over the Last Few Years
There was a time when a marketing expert’s work would be marked as done the minute an ad made it on television or got printed on paper or billboards. However, marketing has become much more real-time, fast-paced, and closely monitored today. To discuss branding strategies is to watch client or customer data, and these assist in evaluating a sports brand name’s relationship with its fan or customer.
Today, sports marketing and personal branding is a partnership that needs to be maintained.
Advertising and marketing of sporting activities have advanced from 30-second ads, full-page ads, and billboards to understanding the viewpoint of fan culture, constructing communication strategies, using data insights, and having innovative partnerships.
Fixed advertisements on TV gradually progress into content items of multiple duration throughout different platforms. Nowadays, every like, comment, or website impression is closely monitored. Data from these activities are then accumulated to aid sports and branding strategies progress in real-time.
Technology can now track the number of seconds a website visitor takes before losing interest in your site and services. Digital marketing tools can now allow you to develop A/B testing and more! This extent of marketing data analytics gives the brand the capability to get ROI out of every single campaign invested and provides an organization the capability to showcase the value that an organization brings.
Modernization also affected sports sponsorship opportunities
With the diversity of media platforms available, the hyper-specified target market is feasible with social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. For an athlete brand, it means better-targeted reach for sponsorship opportunities. It has advanced sponsorship agreements, making them efficient and highly effective. A brand can be recruited to have a year-long project with an ambassador athlete by simply showcasing an aesthetic and well-designed feed.
Using a Sports Website to Promote Your Own Brand
Once you’ve established your personal brand or worked with an agency to develop your brand, the next step is to communicate it to the world. Many athletes fail to recognize the importance of this step, and the community never recognizes their brand or it gains a negative perception.
A website is essential for effective personal branding and marketing. It’s a great way to help build your brand’s recognition. A website can help you interact and communicate with your fans, make you look like a more attractive investment to sponsors, help you tap into additional streams of revenue, and so much more. In today’s world, which is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, it’s a mistake for any entrepreneur or business not to have a website.
Starting an effective marketing campaign is already hard enough if you have a website. There is so much more to think about to promote your athlete brand. Social Media, SEO, staying active in the community, and starting a blog are great examples. These things are very time-consuming, so it might be a great idea to work with a marketing agency.
Ask your sports marketing agency their ideas and opinions on tackling a complex area, mainly consisting of your fans. Also, consider adding an athlete’s video to the landing page, as this creates an introduction for the viewer, which showcases the athlete’s brand in an easy-to-digest manner.
Don’t forget social media platforms!
A social network not just provides an immediate source of connection between a brand and its followers, it’s also an excellent place to learn more about what your audience desires. When you discuss branding strategies, do not forget to maximize the ability of social media platforms to provide you with almost immediate feedback!
Fans and consumers are getting pickier concerning the digital material they involve themselves with. You’ll also require to spend time getting to know your target market if you wish to be successful with digital marketing.
When content marketing and social media initially emerged, the direct approach was to regularly publish content to gain presence. Since these areas have become more saturated, and social media algorithms are more complex, brands need to stick to an innovative and organic strategy to create a narrative that reverberates with their fans or consumers.
Get Ahead by Working with an Agency
As an athlete, all of this may seem complex and confusing. Don’t worry; no one expects you to be a branding expert. That’s why marketing agencies for sports exist. If you someday want to have brand partners like Nike, creating your personal narrative to build your personal athlete branding and marketing is the first step. However, working with those in the sports industry who have the knowledge and expertise is your best bet.
If you are familiar with some aspects of branding, like social media, that’s even better. You can use your social media knowledge to leverage your brand. But be wary of treating social media as an end all be all to building your brand.
Social media on its own is simply not sufficient to create a strong brand. Instead, social media should be treated as one component of your branding strategy. Failing to realize your brand’s full potential could cause you to miss out on significant opportunities and potential revenue.
A marketing agency for athletes can help you craft a powerful and memorable personal brand and develop a strategy for increasing its recognition. Your marketing manager will help you tackle everything from creating packing for your products to posting regular blogs on your website and more.
Your goals, whatever they may be, are attainable. You just need to focus on the right strategies to get there. And an agency can help with
- The Brand Discovery Process
- Thorough Product and Market Research
- Creativity Beyond Compare
- Building a Robust Online Presence
- Gain First-Hand Knowledge and Expertise
Schedule a Call to Discuss Branding Strategies
Whether you are part of a professional team or an individual athlete, you should be banking on your personal brand before anything else. It is going to be the core foundation of all your marketing strategies. It will define your narrative, and it will also be the one thing to guide you back to the basics when your marketing strategies all feel out of direction.
Prepare for the future by securing your brand’s core foundation today.