When an athlete seeks sponsorships, their personal brand is their biggest asset. They are essentially selling themselves. But in order to do so, you need to know what your brand is and how to use it.
A brand is essentially what people think of when they hear your name or see their image, and it's important for athletes to understand how they are perceived by fans, the media, and the general public.
We see more and more businesses seeking out athletes with stories and interests that speak to their target market. The marketing goes into a direction in which businesses try to connect with their audience in a more custom-made way. Sponsoring athletes can help them build that connection.
Athletes rush into the sponsorship process
It often happens that athletes rush into the process. Once they get that idea of finding a sponsor, they want to get it done. Like their attitude on the pitch, they go all in.
But doing without thinking can lead to the risk
of making mistakes. They send out generic sponsor proposals to many different businesses, which lead to maybe a few responses.
And even then, what is the quality of that potential partnership? You risk getting yourself into a situation in which you have to promote a product or company that does not align with your own values.
And what about future sponsorship opportunities? Rushing into deals with a single sponsor may limit the athlete’s opportunities to work with other brands in the future. It's important for athletes to consider how a sponsorship deal may impact their ability to work with other brands and maintain their independence as an athlete.
Why athletes need to know their brand
Every athlete can be sponsored. You just need to take the time to prepare yourself. The first step is to understand your personal brand. Knowing and understanding your personal brand can help you in different ways:
1. You can find a sponsor that matches your brand
By understanding their brand, athletes can better target potential sponsors who align with their values, interests, and image. For example, if an athlete is known for their dedication and hard work, they may be a good fit for a sports equipment brand that emphasizes performance and innovation.
2. It is easier to communicate with the potential sponsors
Athletes who are aware of their brand can also better communicate their value to potential sponsors, highlighting their unique strengths and differentiators. This can help them stand out from other athletes and increase their chances of securing a sponsorship deal.
3. It creates better and more creative partnerships
Athletes who understand their brand, know who they are as a person and can sell themselves as more than ‘just an athlete’. This makes it easier to identify niche sponsors that perfectly match their identity. Many athletes are interested in bigger brands like Nike, but going outside the box and aligning their values and interests to their sponsorship activities can help grow and promote their brand even further.
Overall, understanding one's brand is crucial for athletes seeking sponsorship because it helps them build a strong personal brand and better connect with potential sponsors who share their values and image.