Part 1: What is a Brand?
When we think of brands, companies with unique products or services, typically come to mind. Another way of looking at a brand is a promise to your customers. Your brand tells your customers what to expect, if they buy your product or use your service.
Walmart's brand promise is “Save money. Live better.” It’s a promise built on low prices for everyday people. Nike promises “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Apple promises to “Think different” and has had an almost cult-like following for years as a result.
Valuing Your Brand
Much like Apple, sports fans have an almost cult-like following for their teams and players. Watching sports isn’t a past-time, it’s an experience. Fans buy jerseys and tickets and scream their lungs out at games. They’re happy when their team wins, angry when they lose and sad when their favorite player is hurt or traded. The bond between a fan and their team is practically unshakeable.
Terrell Owens is no doubt one of the best wide receivers that ever-played football. He’s a six-time pro bowler, had 15,934 career receiving yards, 153 receiving touchdowns and is a member of the 1,000 Catch Club, which is a group of NFL players with at least 1,000 career receptions. But what happened to him?
T.O.’s actions off the field caused him to lose his career on the field. He made negative comments about other players, his teammates and coaches found him hard to work with and he was vilified by the press. In the end, he simply burned too many bridges and no one wanted to work with him. That which you don’t value, you’re subject to destroy. T.O. built a brand promise on athletic ability and destroyed it with a negative public persona.
Today, he’s rebuilding his brand. He now considers himself a philanthropist, entrepreneur, fitness expert, model and motivational speaker. He’s a great example to learn from.
Building Brand Trust
Customers’ trust brands they believe can and will deliver on their promise. When it comes to sports, fans trust athletes that are confident, consistent, work well under pressure, maintain their competitive edge and play hard. These traits are part of an athlete’s brand promise on the field. But that brand promise also extends off the field.
Professional athletes are leaders, whether they want to be or not. They lead themselves, their families, children, teammates and fans. So, if you’re an athlete, the question isn’t if you’re a leader, but “How well are you leading?” Answering this question is personal, but here are two things to think about as you do.
Your brand is the foundation of your legacy. It’s the heart and soul of what distinguishes you from every other player and one team from the next. T. Harv Eker says “How you do anything is how you do everything.” There’s a universal law of cause and effect that we all live by, so be mindful of what you think, how you feel and what you do.
My parting words are simple. Build your brand by being brand smart.
Until next time...
Latarsha Horne is a Certified Professional Coach with a strong background in learning and development. Her coaching style is open-minded, straight-forward, instinctive, creative and caring. If you want to be challenged and grow, she's the coach for you.