Every athlete asks me this question.
And the next one is – If I focus on building my brand and marketing, then when will I train?
It sounds like a paradox. Doesn’t it.
Spending time on marketing yourself and brand building takes away time from your training. This will result in bad performances and eventually loss of brand image. That is the general thought that runs in every athlete’s mind.
The truth of the matter is that, it is absolutely imperative for you to build a brand. Every athlete depends on sponsorships for earnings. Prize money at most competitions and events are rarely enough. Also, You will not be at the top of your game all the time. So what will happen when your form takes a dip or you’re battling an injury or worse, you’re past your prime in the sport.
You need to build a brand so that sponsors stay with you through all the ups and downs in your career.
You need a brand so that people beyond the sporting industry also recognize you and can open opportunity doors after your time in the sport is done.
Now the big question is …HOW?
Unlike a few decades back, creating a brand is about talking about your journey today.
Document your journey whether you’re a beginner or a professional and publish it on free mediums where people can discover you. You will find that people who connect with your journey/story will start following you. When this following grows, you will see that brands and organizations will approach you and have business relationships with you. If you’re doing great in the sport, these relationships translate into huge financial deals. But, even if things are not that good in the sport, they would want to stay connected because YOU are connected to THEIR target customers(which is your audience/followership).
Branding and Marketing is not about creating amazing Graphics and Colourful websites. It is about standing for your individual beliefs and being helpful to others on the same journey as yours.
Hope that helps.
PS: This post first appeared on my personal blog anandmarar.com