'The Athletes Who Always Aspire to Learn More Are the Ones Who Really Rock'
Joe Favorito has more than three decades of expertise in strategic communications, marketing, business development and public relations, spanning the fields of sports, entertainment, brand building, media training, television, athletic administration and business.
Joe, what are you most excited about today?
The amazing potential that exists now for anyone, especially young people, to partner and forge their own path in the global industry of sports. So long as they are good listeners and learners and understand that this is not easy, the ability to contribute and grow a global conversation is more real than ever before.
How does Joe define an epic athlete brand?
He or she should be a good global citizen, respectful and engaged in the community, willing to do as much to be successful off the field than on. Winning certainly helps, and to get to be a "Tiger" or a "Serena" you certainly have to win, but there are more degrees for defining success, locally, regionally, today than there ever have been before. In the end, the person defines success, not the other way around.
What's your favorite athlete brand at the moment, and why?
Andrew Hawkins and how he has told his story well beyond his NFL career is one. I’m always interested in what Martellus Bennett is doing to engage with kids. I think the efforts Ronaldo is doing to become more of a global brand is intriguing. I also think some of the great women’s stories coming out of the OIympics, even with the women’s hockey team, are worth watching.
Paul Rabil does a great amount promoting what he has done as a lacrosse player and well beyond, and is also another to see. I think Jeremy Lin, even with his injuries, is still looking well beyond his game, and Stephon Marbury’s work in China to reinvent himself as he finished his career was amazing.
There are also some great emerging brand ambassadors coming out of the WNBA that I think will also help change the roles of women in sport as brands as well, and I think that’s very important for the culture we are in today.
When you look across the athlete brand landscape, what's the one thing you think more athletes should be doing?
Athletes who take the time to learn more about not just what they want to do, but what they don’t want to do, despite great pressure from forces and people around them, are the ones who are the most successful. Those who take the time to listen and embrace social issues and make positive change are always impressive.
We all need to keep learning, and in a world that is now so much for the moment, that’s tough to do. But the athletes who always aspire to learn more are the ones who really rock.
What’s your best advice for athletes who want to kickstart their personal brands?
Surround yourself with people who are willing to tell you "no" as much as "yes" if that is needed. Learn from mistakes. Don’t do things just for the sake of doing them. Understand all that goes on around you and ask questions. The bright lights are shining on you only for a period of time and you define your own brand, so be who you are, not someone you think people want you to be. That’s true for everyone, not just for athletes.
It is also not easy to do. You have a gift that separates you from the pack. Figure out how you can use that gift to change your part of the world, and make that resonate beyond your time on the field.
What’s the number-one tool you’re using right now?
I vary, but I think LinkedIn and Twitter are great for maintaining a checklist of what’s relevant and monitoring conversations.
Based on your knowledge and expertise, what's the future of athlete branding and marketing?
Brighter than it ever has been for those who are authentic, engaged and always willing to learn.