Athlete Endorsement Tips

Most players don’t have a clue how hard endorsements are to come-by nowadays, especially as a pro football player.

…especially when you’re not a quarterback, running back, or receiver.

The article How to Choose the Right Athlete to Endorse Your Brand by Chris Conway (via thesportsnetworker.com), is aimed to help companies find the “right” athlete to represent their brand.

Related: Branding Athletes 101 – It’s Not as Hard as You May Think

 

But I think it can be beneficial for players too.

Michael Jordan has endorsed major brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Hanes, Wheaties, Gatorade, and others. (ICON Sports)

I say that, because the article can help players understand the kind of accomplishments they need to be attractive to companies from an endorsement perspective.

So without further adieu, here are the big lessons I got from Chris’ article.

Lesson #1: The Athlete “Must” Help Increase a Company’s Exposure

 

A company’s relationship with an athlete is like a courtship, in that it’s a process.

It’s a process that hopefully ends with an increase in sales of the company’s product.

But as Chris explained, the initial benefit in the eyes of companies, is an increase in exposure for the brand:

Initially the endorsement creates exposure for the brand. From that starting point, it can then achieve an array of positive brand impact factors – from association to recognition, consideration, favorability, loyalty and ultimately to increased sales of a product.

In other words, if you’re not in a position to actually create an increase in exposure for a brand, why would they want to pay you to attach your name to their product?

Related: 4 things Every Future NFL Player Should Know About Endorsements – Part One

 

So instead of asking “where’s my endorsements?” you might want to ask yourself:

“How can I put myself in-position to increase exposure for a company and their brand?”

 

Lesson #2: Companies Look for Athletes that Look Like They’d REALLY Use the Product

 

Chris uses the example of Derek Jeter and his Gillette endorsement to deliver this point.

I was a few years younger than Derek, but growing up in Kalamazoo, MI (where he’s from), as far back as I can remember, Derek Jeter’s face has always been cleanly shaven.

Add that with his reputation as a ladies man, and it’s very believable that Derek Jeter would actually use Gillette’s products.

 

Lesson #3: Athletes Need Specific On-Field Qualities

 

Chris listed out five “on-field” qualities and achievements that an athlete should have before they should expect to be a desirable pitchman for a company:

1. Performance quality

2. Winning record

3. Skill

4. Style

5. Potential

Related: 10 Tips That’ll Help You Build a Positive and Profitable Media Presence – Part One

 

So let’s break these down, real quick.

 

Performance Quality/Skill

I put performance quality and skill in the same category, as they’re pretty closely related, at least in my opinion.

When analyzing themselves from a performance quality or skill perspective, a pro football player that wants endorsements might want to focus on becoming All Pro, or at least a Pro Bowler first.

Think about it.  Out of the 2100 players in the NFL, why would a company want a player to represent their product that isn’t even one of the top three or four players in the league at their position?

It’s something to think about.

 

Winning Record

Nobody wants a loser.  We don’t need to elaborate on this one, do we?

Matter of fact, do me a solid, and name one player, in any sport, that has an endorsement deal, that has a losing record

Team or individual sport.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

 

Style

One of the greatest examples of the impact of on-field/court style is Michael Jordan.

His high-flying, toungue-wagging, baggy shorts swag set him apart from every other player that shared the court with him.

This distinguishable style, as Chris pointed out, helped make Nike the hands-down worldwide leader in athletic footwear.

One of MJ’s “Be Like Mike” commercials…  Brings back memories.

Potential

In 2011, Cam Newton broke NFL incoming rookie records for annual guarantee and overall dollars with his deal with Under Armour, and he hadn’t even played one snap of NFL football yet.

I’m pretty sure the young man’s unlimited “potential” to excel in the NFL was a major reason why he landed it.

And it’s potential that he’s fulfilling so far, by becoming the 2011 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Check out one of Cam’s first Under Armour commercials:

 

I gotta run for now, but click the link below for part two:

Athlete Endorsement Tips – What it Takes to Land an Endorsement as a Pro Athlete 

 

Do you disagree with any of the points made above?  What are your thoughts on the state of endorsements for players in the NFL today?

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

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Web References:

How to Choose the Right Athlete to Endorse Your Brand (TheSportsNetworker.com)

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