Modern professional sports have branding as a centerpiece. Look no further than the biggest players in the game. Michael Jordan built an empire and led the way for basketball players. In reality, the branding of professional sports dates back decades. Joe Namath famously used his masculine reputation and the realities of the game to promote, of all things, pantyhose. But what sorts the winners from the also rans? What's the best way to engage in professional athlete personal brand management?
The Needs of Athlete Brand Management
If a player is effective or popular, then at the very least they have a personal brand worth maintaining for merchandise sales and likely much more. Jerseys will be sold with their names on the back, endorsements can be made for products ranging from professional equipment to cereal and the brand can even be brought into other industries, such as video games and filmmaking. A player's face and skills have value not just on the field or the court, but also on the market, which is where professional athlete brand management comes in.
The danger, however, is that personal brands are extremely fragile. Just like a team can take it to the final game and see it all slip away with one tiny mistake, a player can find their brand damaged or even destroyed with bad choices and bad publicity. Even worse, millions can be lost in terms of business. Look no further than Tiger Woods, whose personal life being splashed across the tabloids cost him millions, and the shareholders in the companies he endorsed billions. With the Internet, even minor problems in professional athlete personal brand management can swell to dangerous proportions.
There's more behind this ball than just the game.
So, what can an athlete do to both improve their brand and protect it?
They should aware, overall, of the status of their brand as an athlete. Athletes are held to a higher standard of behavior than others, largely due to being role models for children, and a perception that an athlete is a difficult or unpleasant person can cost that athlete millions in endorsements.
Keep somebody on top of Internet rumors and other potential issues. You need to get ahead of possible damage to your reputation, and stopping rumors is often important to professional athlete brand management.
Make sure the public knows there's more to you than the game you play. Even supposed â€œbad boyâ€ athletes often make a sincere and extensive effort to give back to their communities, investing in charities, developing business in the area and generally giving back. Helping fans find out about these bolsters your athlete's personal brand. If a play goes bad or professional issues such as contract negotiation make the press, be able to make it clear what your perspective is.
If navigating the plays of athlete brand management seems to be a tough game, it is, but ReputationDefender can help. We offer reputation management services that you can incorporate as part of your public relations apparatus. We've also got the tools and strategies to help contain online crises before they become unmanageable.
Your brand has value, regardless of your sport. With ReputationDefender behind you, you'll be able to keep it on an even keel so you can focus on the game.