01 Apr Take Control of Your Brand
As a professional sports person, you have a personal brand. You might not be aware of it nor spent any time cultivating it but it’s there. If I just type your name into Google, your brand is on display for me and the whole world to see. Other people – journalists, fans, sponsors – are creating your brand for you, whether you like it or not.
The good news is that you can take back control of your brand identity and by doing so improve your brand equity and potentially your earning power both during your professional sports career and after it.
But where do you start in developing your personal brand? As a former professional rugby player, I found asking myself these three questions really helped me:
1. What attributes do I as an athlete have that could be used as part of my brand?
Whether you’re a leader or a great team player, tactically brilliant or physically one of the strongest (or all of these), you can bring these attributes to the fore in your brand personality. Think about what you’re known for and if that can be applied to your wider brand.
2. What are my missions and values?
Asking yourself what your goals are today, tomorrow and in five years time will help define your brand and ultimately your personal brand can help you reach these goals. In terms of values, you need to think about your priorities in both work and life. What’s really important to you and what you care about will help you decide which opportunities are the right one for you and importantly, which ones to say no to. Take it from me, it’s easier to say no when you’re clear on what your brand is.
3. What is it that makes me stand out?
When answering this question, it’s important to not just think about your performance in your sport, but also your passions, interests and your personality. You might be a football player massively into music. There is so much crossover between the worlds of football and music (think Oasis and MCFC, Kasabian and Leicester, Dizzee Rascal and West Ham) and by sharing your music passion through your brand identity you could open some doors into a world you really care about. Imagine that!
If there’s one piece of advice I can share with you, it’s that always be true to yourself. Those you want to engage with – potential sponsors, sports fans, the media – respect authentic voices. But most importantly you’ll be happier, attracting the right opportunities that reflect who you truly are.