Part 2: Protecting Your Brand
In the first part of Be Brand Smart, we talked about what a brand is, valuing your brand and building brand trust. In this segment, we’ll talk about protecting your brand. We’ll stick to the playing professional sports analogy we used in the first post.
Why You Should Incorporate
Your brand is one of the single most valuable pieces of your legacy. Building it is the foundation of your legacy. Protecting it determines if you keep it. One way to protect your brand is to incorporate.
Being a Sports Professional
Another way to protect your brand is by being professional. The main difference between sports professionals and amateurs is that a "professional is paid to perform." When you research "professional," the words expert, authority, specialist and career come up. For sports professionals, playing sports is a career. It’s a job that comes with a set of expectations.
Using Social Media
The last topic we’re going to talk about is using social media. We all have footprints and footprints leave impressions. Social media is part of what’s called your “digital footprint.” So, what you say, post, like, comment on, tweet, retweet and share matters. What other people say about you is also part of your digital footprint.
Wrapping It Up!
Pele said “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
Being a professional athlete is a dream job. Protect your dream. Show up to work on time. Know your stuff and do your job well. Incorporate to protect your personal assets, increase your credibility and take advantage of tax-advantages. And, watch what you say on social media. You only play sports for a short time. But, the choices you make while you’re playing, can impact your brand for a lifetime.
Until next time...
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.