Friday, October 31, 2008

Keys to marketing an athlete

Tiger Woods will eventually become the first athlete to have earned 1 billion dollars from his winnings and endorsements, so the question is, what is the key to successfully market an athlete?
Athlete corporations is something we will have to get accustomed to since more and more athletes are being marketed by huge corporations and no longer are they just athletes, but they're a brand themselves.

So how do you market and brand an athlete?

1. Skills: What else is more important than skills. By having skills you attract fans and attention, with the attention, people would want to purchase your merchandise. According to this person, the most marketable athletes in the USA are: Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade. One thing in common with these athletes. skills. Nothing beats out the natural skill of an athlete when branding and marketing a person.

2. Success: What can be better for a sports company such as Nike or Adidas to have their athlete in a giant poster holding up a championship trophy. Everyone wants to be linked to success, and the idea of conspicuous consumption where the consumers want to purchase that shoe thinking they can be just like Kobe holding up that trophy. Who wouldn't want to buy something from an athlete who is a 'winner'.

3. Sex Appeal: Now this is what I called the Anna Kournikova section. The lady who didn't win anything, but won the attention of all the marketers. Although we don't like it, but in our society, looks is everything. With looks you can get that job and in Kournikova's case, she can get millions for just looking pretty. This is the case of Sex Appeal > Success/skills. But wait, imagine the ultimate athlete who has both sex appeal and skills. His name is David Beckham.

4. Image: Image is not hard to maintain, but it can be lost very easily with a simple picture or accusation. No company would want to associate themselves with a criminal. You can have all the skills in the world, but image is the number one key to a company as well as an athlete corporation. Just look at Michael Vick. When the dog fighting scandal arose, Nike immediately sacked him not wanting to be associated to a person involved in criminal activities. Image can't make you, but it can easily break you. Without skills, success, and sex appeal you cannot receive a lucrative contract from Nike, but by having the three and not having the "image," the athlete will lose the contract immediately.

Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals says: "I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star." I think on a level that is true. With marketing and branding, a person can be built and hyped up just like wrestlers in the WWE, but without the above 4 qualities and attributes, it is near impossible to market and brand an athlete to an "athlete corporation."