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Caleb Gilligan, April 1 2022

The Revolution of Athlete Branding

Recapping white whale mktg Founder's, Christopher Nascimento, Keynote

Over the past weekend, the uOttawa Sport Business Club hosted their annual Sport Management Conference. In a weekend filled with interesting panellists, interactive workshops, and exciting giveaways, white whale mktg. founder Chris Nascimento’s keynote on the Revolution of Athlete Branding stood out. Not only was Chris able to explain his opinion on recent developments in athlete branding, but he also gave real-life examples to help support his claims.

Do you remember the blue and yellow NHL.com website which had a list of three or four athlete websites at the bottom? It might seem like a long time ago but that is one of the first instances of athlete branding in the sport of hockey. Fast forward to today and athlete branding has seen incredible progress. Nowadays, professional athletes will have an account on every social media platform, multiple websites, and their faces everywhere they can show them. Now, where did that change happen? Well, studies show that most organizations are switching their focus to advertising on digital platforms such as social media, websites, and streaming content. With these changes, professional athletes are transitioning from traditional advertising to building their online presence and personal brand to be better prepared for digital advertising.

However, it’s not as simple as creating accounts and posting content, execution is as important as anything. Advertising has become more creative and is deeper than just showcasing a product or service. Gaining a consumer’s attention and keeping it long enough for them to consider purchasing what you’re selling is as hard as it’s ever been. More importantly, your personal brand must align with what you are trying to sell. For example, despite the large personal brand he currently has, Auston Matthews would have a tough time trying to sell makeup products since it’s not aligned with his personal brand. Having a celebrity endorsement is no longer enough to sell a product, you need to have your audience believe that the athlete uses it often.

While building your brand, you also need to avoid oversaturating your audience to the point that every post feels like you’re trying to sell something to them. An example of this is Connor McDavid. Despite his outstanding abilities on the ice, McDavid rarely shows much emotion outside of hockey and it’d be tough to find something about this personality that you can relate to. Building your brand to maximize revenue isn’t something that can be done instantly, it’s a gradual process of building trust among your audience over a period of time. Athletes are now realizing what they must do to build their brand in the digital age of athlete marketing and although it may require more effort, the recognition and rewards are out there to be obtained.

In the end, Chris’ keynote on the Revolution of Athlete Branding informed participants of the overall landscape of athlete branding. To learn more about white whale mktg and Chris Nascimento, give us a follow @whitewhalemktg, available on all platforms.

Published: April 1, 2022 - Issue 32 of The Sport Marketeer

Written by

Caleb Gilligan


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