'An Epic Athlete Brand Consists of Using Reach and Influence'
Jennifer, what are you most excited about today?
I am currently consulting with a cutting-edge tech company that is going to forever change how athletes monetize their online presence. This company allows athletes to personally connect with their fans and followers simply from the comfort of their own home. It’s a game-changer, as it generates revenue streams, as well as enhances an athlete's personal brand.
How does Jennifer define an epic athlete brand?
An epic athlete brand consists of using reach and influence to positively impact young fans, while being true to the athlete's self and consistently communicating his or her values. The many athletes who have built an "epic personal brand" are typically involved in community outreach programs about which they are personally passionate.
What's your favorite athlete brand at the moment, and why?
J.J. Watt. He shares aspects of his personal life and family values. He has certainly built a huge connection with his fans by allowing them to see a glimpse of who he is "off the field." He communicates his values through his volunteerism, community outreach programs and his charity, The J.J. Watt Foundation.
When you look across the athlete brand landscape, what's the one thing you think more athletes should be doing?
Athletes need to begin educating themselves on brand identity earlier on in their career. I feel the ideal time to begin is at the high school level of an athlete's career. The most important factor young athletes need to truly understand is that the decisions they make on and off the field can and will impact their future, both personally and professionally.
What’s your best advice for athletes who want to kickstart their personal brands?
Athletes cannot build their personal brands on their own. To correctly kickstart their personal brands, they must build a team of professionals who specialize in the components of building and sustaining a personal brand.
What’s the number-one tool you’re using right now?
Being in an industry with so many moving parts, I am always trying to stay up-to-date with industry news and trends. For me, my number-one tools are industry-specific literature and/or newsletters. I make sure to take time each day to read these articles. Currently, my go-to's are the Sports Business Journal, Hashtag Sports and SportTechie.
Based on your knowledge and expertise, what's the future of athlete branding and marketing?
I see the digital trends continuing to evolve. For so many years, brands sought out partnerships with athletes and used television ads to reach and influence buyers. The hot ticket for brands nowadays are by monetizing the social media following of the athletes they work with.
Athletes have become the most influential entities in sports media, mostly in part because their followers consist of almost entirely sports fans. Athletes provide brands and sponsors the most effective way to reach sports fans on social media, and I see the future involving more unique ways to use digital marketing to influence.