Identifying and Exploiting a Sports Celebrity Brand!

By Athena Constantinou, Managing Director, AP Sports Consulting, Nicosia, Cyprus

What is a Brand?

The term “brand” has been used through the years with different meanings attached to it.

From initially being used by cattle ranchers to describe the process of using branding irons to mark their animals with their “brand”; to using “brand” as the name given to a product or service from a specific source.

Today, we also use the term “personal brand” as we consider every person to have their own set of unique characteristics. Everything you say and do is a reflection of your own independent brand.

Athletes have a personal brand, which is more recognizable than that of an average person, because of the fame and attention that usually comes from competing in professional sports.

We can define the Sports Celebrity Brand as the athletes’ promise to their fans of their own personal goodwill.

Personal goodwill in identity is the force that attracts one to a famous individual and gives the individual commercial value because of their fame. An athlete’s brand is derived from whom (s)he is, who(s) he wants to be and who people perceive him/her to be.

When athletes choose to develop their personal brand and follow a well-crafted brand strategy, they can monetize the success of today in the long term and transform themselves from sports-related VIPs, to business-related VIPs with a life-time duration.

How do you know if you have a Sports Celebrity Brand?

You know that you are sports star material when you have built ‘brand equity’.

The strength of a sports star’s brand equity is a key factor in the influence (s)he exerts in their community. The main components of brand equity strength are:

  • athletic performance which encompasses athletic expertise competition style and sportsmanship;
  • attractive appearance which includes physical attractiveness, body fitness and personal style;
  • and marketable lifestyle which includes the athlete’s character style and credibility, his/her life story and his/her relationship with fans.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity comes in the form of emotional attachment to the athlete from his/her audience or fan-base, which puts the athlete in a position of substantial influence over his or her audience’s purchasing habits.

There is a series of questions that you have to ask yourself in order to assess whether you actually have a Sports Celebrity Brand.

The following questions will help you realise if you are anywhere near the first step of the stardom ladder; they may even make you realize that you are actually climbing the stardom ladder and roughly pinpoint you to your stardom ladder positioning!

  • Do I have an audience of sports fans?
  • If, I have an audience of sports fans, am I in a position to influence their purchasing habits?
  • If I believe that I am in a position to influence the purchasing habits of my fans, how do I actually do that? How do I exert such an influence over my fans?

The answers to the above questions constitute a reality check of your sports celebrity status; its possible existence; or even its non-existence.

In any case, you will know exactly where you are, so that you can devise an appropriate strategy to develop and pave your way to sports stardom.

And you should remember that your base line is always exceptional athletic performance which, when combined with your unique personal style and a marketable lifestyle, can shoot you straight to the top tiers of the sports stardom sphere!

We, at APC Sports Consulting, can assist athletes, at whatever stage in their careers, but preferably early on, in identifying, developing and commercially exploiting a Sports Celebrity Brand!

Athena Constantinou can be contacted by e-mail at ‘athena@apc-sport.com’