3 Ways To Start Building Your Personal Athlete Brand
Photo by Daniel Hughes
In the competitive world of sports, it can be difficult for an athlete to stand out from the crowd, and differentiate themselves to the other athletes in their sport. If an athlete wants to attract endorsements, set up post career opportunities and secure more lucrative player contracts it is critical that they develop their personal athlete brands.
There are a few standout athletes who have built their brands over the duration of their careers, enabling them to secure impressive commercial opportunities and sizeable player agreements. Our favourites include LeBron James, Serena Williams, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Shaq, all very unique, with different personal brand strategies.
1. Understand What Your Values & Goals Are
It’s our values and goals that are a large part of what makes us unique as individuals, therefore, this is a important place for an athlete to start. It may take time to define these important values and goals, however, it is an extremely beneficial and important start for athletes to visualise what they might want their futures to look like.
Determining your values and goals will also assist you to make decisions about what opportunities you want to go for or turn down as they will align with your brand. As your online following and profile grow many brands will start to reach out, there is value in not accepting every commercial opportunity since they may not benefit or align with your personal brand and long-term goals.
Particular values you may consider important to your brand could include words like family, team, leadership, education, religion, heritage, charity and more. Examples of goals might include owning a business, coaching a sports team, being a news presenter, writing a book and plenty more!
At a minimum pick three values which are important to you, and write down your goals as an athlete and what you may like to do post your athletic career.
2. Own Your Online Profile & Social Media Platforms
At Agency X, we cannot stress enough to the athletes we work with the importance of owning their online profile and social media platforms. Simply, this means to buy the website URL which represents your name and to open social media accounts across all social platforms in your name, regardless if you are going to use them or not. The key ones are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
This is often overlooked by athletes who are either striving to be a professional athlete or are already there and often leave it too late to purchase or control these which can either become a financial cost or cause a brand exposure risk.
Owning your social media platforms is essential to owning your name online. If athletes’ don’t own their name across social media they risk another person claiming the account handle and putting out any type of content they wish. This can be especially damaging if they are posting controversial, untrue content that doesn’t positively reflect the athlete. In addition, many athletes may decide down the track that they do want to have an Instagram or build their own website and if another person already owns these handles or URLs, athletes may find themselves having to buy them at a premium price.
Go to a domain purchasing website such as www.godaddy.com and purchase your website URL today! The cost will vary depending upon your name, however, is commonly about $15 - $30 a year.
Set up your social profiles in your actual name, and for Facebook and Instagram make them athlete pages.
3. Create Content To Share
Once you know what you want your personal brand to look like, you must share pictures, videos and do interviews that reflect your values and work towards achieving your goals. This can be the difficult part as you need to be strategic and comfortable in what you share. For example, if you don’t want to share your family life online you don’t have to, if you don’t want to constantly post on social media, it won’t limit your personal brand from growing if you have a clear strategy. Strategic content can assist an athlete in strengthening their brand and positioning them in front of potential businesses or organisations that they wish to work with.
Many athletes will overthink the process of sharing to social media when it really doesn’t have to be a huge production! Followers and brands simply want to have insight into your life and learn about who you are. Athletes have great content that they can share daily including training and pre-game images, hanging out with friends or family, going for a run, what they eat... the list can go on and on. You might find these moments insignificant but to your fans, they are everything since they show you, the person that they choose to follow!
Start posting content to your social media channels daily today! Work with your friends, clubs and any brands on how you can develop some great video or pictures to share.
If you’re serious about building a personal athlete brand, speak to a brand management agency to develop a strategy which is unique to you.
Image via Instagram @jack_hingert
An athlete's personal brand will only deliver positive results when you have a strategy, long-term goals and are consistently working on building your brand.
These three tips are a great start for every athlete and we highly recommend you give them a try! Remember, a strong athlete brand is now a critical component for a successful athletic career.
These three tips are only the foundation though, by working with a professional brand manager they can assist you with developing your personal brand, building a strategy for content, giving you the tools to grow your profile, and assisting you to secure commercial opportunities.
Are you an athlete needing assistance with your brand? Give us a call today for a free 15-minute assessment, or schedule a strategic roadmap session with a brand expert.