How Colin Kaepernick Can Win More Fans and Play in the NFL Again

  Photo Courtesy: Colin Kaepernick on Facebook

Photo Courtesy: Colin Kaepernick on Facebook

From a pure football standpoint, there's no question Colin Kaepernick deserves another chance to be an NFL quarterback.

The cold, hard truth is that teams don't sign quarterbacks; they sign people who play quarterback, and the current consensus seems to be that Kaepernick isn't a person who owners want on their teams. Sports is obviously a business, and team executives make decisions they believe will best impact the bottom line.

Rightfully or not, it appears most executives view Kaepernick and his polarizing social activism as a threat to their team's profits. 

With Kaepernick's challenge to make a fair, legitimate NFL return, however, comes an opportunity for him to take advantage of the platform (in the millions of social media followers) he's built against the backdrop of his social activism.

It starts with diversifying his content.

Almost all of the content of late that Kaepernick publishes on social media and his website relates to his social activism, which is a fair and just cause that certainly deserves a lot of attention. Don't get me wrong.

But, it also paints Kaepernick as a one-dimensional figure, which can inadvertently work against him — because too much of anything is almost never a good thing.

The strongest and most lucrative athlete brands combine a plethora of attributes that make up his or her life story, or overall narrative. This includes the athlete's personal and professional goals, values, style, rivalries, symbol, traditions, hobbies, passions, causes, and affiliates (e.g. teams, brands, organizations and people).

The more fans know about an athlete, in other words, the more they tend to show interest in, admire and support them (fan loyalty). And the more they will share the athlete's brand with their social circles (brand equity), therefore exposing the athlete to a larger, wider fanbase.

Winning In the Court of Public Opinion

By diversifying his content, Kaepernick will strengthen his existing fans' loyalty and brand equity, but he'll also do something arguably more important: Kaepernick will turn many of the people who currently frown upon his social activism into his fans — because they'll start to see different sides of him, which will create exponentially more empathy, relateability and likeability.

When team executives start to see fans from different social and political backgrounds supporting Kaepernick, he'll put himself in a better position to play in the NFL again.

About the Author:

Josh Hoffman is the Chief Strategy Officer at The Institute for Athlete Branding and Marketing. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.