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How To Brand Like An Athlete: Values And Messaging
As the professional age of rugby in America begins to blossom with PRO Rugby entering its second season
and rumors of more semi-professional and professional rugby entities popping up around the United States,
what will set you apart from the competition and put you on the radars of teams and sponsors looking to pay a
rugby athlete money to play and have them hawk the latest protein bars? A personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
At first glance, you might think a personal brand is Nike-scale production and marketing wherewithal around an
athlete like LeBron James or Von Miller. It can be and I genuinely hope you get there, but we’re here to learn
some of the basics. A personal brand is how you package yourself into a brand that’s marketable to say… the
head coach of a professional team in Seattle or the marketing team for a company like Red Bull. It’s made up
of who you are, what you do, and how you connect and appeal to an audience. Let’s start by thinking of two
core elements to any brand, including yours: values and messaging.
To understand how to sell a product, you have to understand the values associated with it and how those
values appeal to a broader audience. That understanding becomes the messaging you use to connect with the
people you’re targeting. Take time to iron out a set a clear values that represent you as a athlete (leave the
party and politics at home for this one) and how they define you as a person. Are you competitive? Fine… But
how has that competitive nature fueled you to success in your life or made you a better person.
The easiest and most accessible form of messaging today is social media. Every athlete has access to
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I don’t think I need to state the obvious around socially acceptable content –
look to former Senator Anthony Weiner for anti-inspiration here. Use social media to perpetuate you and your
values as an athlete. For example: are you competitive? Use Instagram to post your marathon results, your
latest push up record, video footage of your last game and even the scoreboard, if you won. Are you
charitable? Post to Facebook and LinkedIn about the charity you volunteer for on a regular basis or a cause
you champion like tackling breast cancer or bullying with your own time, money, or resources. Ambitious? Post
videos from your workout and training. A scholar of the game? Start blogging about your take on the big
games; why’d the winning team win, what made them great, what were the key factors in that game? Create a
platform for anyone to visit and see what kind of an athlete you are, what kind of person you are, and what you
aspire to do with your rugby career.
Why does it even matter?
Modern coaches look for players that fit the culture and identity of their teams and most of them are relying the
good ol’ fashioned gut instinct about a player when it comes to selection, especially when it comes to naming a
starter or picking between two highly competitive athletes. Your brand can influence that gut instinct. on the flip
side of the coin, sponsors are looking for athletes that help them tell a positive story around their product that
connects with a broader audience. Your brand can help shape that story and give marketers inspiration around
how you can fit the mold of their brand and be an influencer in the market for protein bars or sports cars.