Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Anna Kournikova are all names we associate with exceptional athleticism and sport greatness. We associate some of the world’s biggest brands with them as well – think Nike, Gatorade, Gillette and Adidas. Both the tremendous athletes involved and the exceptional brands benefited from this sponsorship relationship. So in a world of numerous marketing and advertising opportunities, why should YOUR company sponsor an athlete?
To begin, athletes draw huge attention from both media and a wide variety of fan demographics. With the right athlete and strategy in place, your brand can receive excellent exposure. When an athlete is properly endorsing a product or service, he or she is seen as an authentic and real user of the product. In doing so, fans of the sport, team and athlete overall will begin to recognize the product and feel a sense of connection. When your consumers feel connected to your product, they build loyalty and your sales will increase.
Endorsement of your product or service by an athlete (or team or athletic event for that matter) initially creates brand exposure. Whether you are trying to gain traction in a new market or increase sales in a current market, additional exposure is key. The benefits to your brand and business include increased recognition, thought, loyalty and finally purchasing of your product or service.
Think of when Nike brought on Michael Jordan in the 1980’s. Nike was already a very established brand, although bringing on Michael Jordan and creating the complete Jordan Brand line, including the Air Jordan’s basketball shoe phenomenon, has made their company and brand further explode. Michael Jordan will take home $80 million this year from his sponsorships, brand affiliations and business endeavors. The Jordan Brand line controls almost 60% of the basketball shoe line, which means $1.75 Billion annually around the world (including apparel).
So why was Jordan, and other athlete like him, so successful when it came to their sponsorship? Why did this work out so exceptionally well for Nike? The obvious answer of course is that Michael Jordan is one of, if not THE best, basketball players of all time. If he told everyone to wear this basketball shoe because it will help their game, people will buy.
But it is more than just success on the court that has made Jordan and the Nike brand so successful. Athletes bring so much more to the table than simply athleticism.
Athletes bring a sense of knowledge and affiliation of the sport to their audiences. They connect to their audiences like no other. They have a loyal fan base of not only them as individual players but their entire team as well. For example Canadians cheer for Desiree Scott as a tremendous soccer player on Team Canada, but we also cheer for the entire team. This additional brand exposure is so helpful.
The individual athlete that your company chooses to sponsor brings forth their individual personality, physical attractiveness, personal background, role model qualities and relationship with fans. Their social media followers, event goers and ambassadors to the sport now come to YOUR brand too.
Choosing an athlete that your customers can feel connected to is important. Someone who represents your target market and can relate to your customers. At the end of the day you need to choose an athlete who represents your desired image and who can help sell your products. If you customer were a young mother versus a 21-year-old basketball player, you would of course choose very different athletes to sponsor. Properly identifying your customer and then choosing your athlete strategically is key.
The great thing about athletes is their passion, drive and motivation to make everything they do a success. Their positive outlook and attitude comes to life both on and off the field. They can connect with both their established fan base and yours, in turn increasing your brand awareness and sales.
If your company is looking to sponsor local or national athletes we would love to connect you with some exceptional people. Give us a call…we’re super nice!