Brand Ambassador: An Athletes Ticket to More Publicity

It’s a win-win situation when a professional athlete and brand collaborate with each other to create a partnership. Nowadays, it’s hardly a new practice for professional athletes to use their celebrity standing to advertise products, not to mention to pocket the extra cash and public interest that comes with it. When athletes join together with a brand, they become more than just a sports star, they branch out into the business world and extend their personal brands to other facets in their careers.

Because social media has given athletes a direct line of communication to fans and allowed for a personal look into their day to day, brands equally need an athletes publicity and endorsement in order to tap into that conversation. Athletes social following is extremely valuable. The umpteen amount eyes that are on athletes at all times give brands a major step up in getting their product out to the media. On top of that, fans aspire to be like their favorite athlete. An athlete who supports and uses a specific product or clothing line is undeniably hard to pass up by followers. Fans want to “rep” their favorite athlete because in some way, they want to be like them.

An easy way to determine which athletes are ambassadors of which brands, take a look at their golf bags, hats, or polos, for instance, as they are all typically loaded with brand logos which means they have sponsorships with them. Let’s take a look at the ever so popular Adam Scott (who has one two consecutive PGA tournaments in a row these past couple weeks) and a few of the brands he represents:

1. Uniqlo

Unlike most athletes who we find wearing Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour, Adam Scott is the face of the Japanese casual wear designer and retailer Uniqlo. Scott was wearing the Uniqlo brand when he won the 2013 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

2. Titleist

Among the host of Tour player stars, Titleist considers Scott to be the leading light of their brand. Adam Scott’s golf bag is exclusively filled with Titleist clubs and his golf ball is none other than the Pro V1. Scott’s Masters win, using Titleist clubs and their Pro V1 ball, was estimated to provide more than $14 million in media value for the brand.

PGA Gold Coast 2013
Courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

3. Oakley

4. Rolex

5. FootJoy

6. Mercedes 

From the sponsorships of Rolex and Mercedes, Scott is clearly endorsed by the luxury brands, which means he arrives in fine style to the course. These brand agreements typically include bonuses for major tournament wins.

Adam Scott has made up to $7.6 million from endorsements off the course and $8 million on the course in a single year. Along with the bonus of a higher pay grade, representing a brand extends a fan base to the point where fans themselves can feel like they can play alongside the stars. At some point in an athletes career, there comes the decision of retirement. If an athlete is lucky enough, they will have expanded their personal brand, to where they can create an entire clothing line or product line dedicated to themselves. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer and few of the athletes that have been able to accomplish such success. Maybe someday Adam Scott will be fortunate enough to do the same.

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The 411 on CSR’s

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Courtesy of http://www.hoffmancup.org

Reputation, relationship, and responsive rectitude. These are the three R’s that the Institute for Public Relations has committed to the CSR movement. Corporate Social Responsibility is a corporations initiative to engage and asses the company’s effects on social and environmental wellbeing. In other words, it answers the question of how the company is giving back to the world. In order for a company to have an effective CSR, the initiative has to incorporate the bottom line of people, planet, and profit.

As I have mentioned before in previous posts, a corporation, athlete, franchise, or team, must be aware of their personal brand and the mark they continue set. By having a CSR, it reflects an ethical and moral reputation, which in turn enhances personal branding. CSR’s also aid in distinguishing brands from one another. Fans and consumers are more inclined to engage with a corporation or athlete who stands behind a social responsibility. CSR’s go a long way in the eyes of the public. Like they alway say, no good deed goes unnoticed. Fans and consumers feel right-minded associating themselves with someone who is trying to help the community or preserve the earth’s resources.

Not only does the public appreciate a corporate social responsibility but incorporating a CSR into your practice also nurtures a positive workplace environment. Employees respect working for someone with a good public image. CSR’s create pride and belonging because of the feeling of doing something good for the sake of others.

There are multiple different facets of a CSR. Environmental CSR’s focus on eco-issues such as water and deforestation. Community based CSR’s revolve around improving the quality of life of the local community. Athletes or teams may focus on a single philanthropy, donating money to a cause, usually through a charity partner (like I mentioned in my PRo Ams and PR post earlier). Or there are HR based CSR’s in which enhance the wellbeing of employees and staff.

The PGA TOUR has donated over $2 billion in support of over 3,000 charities. Not only does the PGA TOUR donate money through Pro-Am’s but players on the TOUR and the TOUR itself are also involved in many different areas of community support. Here are the PGA TOUR’s CSR movements:

  • Youth/Children
  • Military
  • Volunteerism
  • Health/Medical
  • Growth of the Game
  • Environment
  • Education/Leadership
  • Disaster Relief
  • Community
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Courtesy of http://www.sportsnetworker.com

Within each of these facets, the PGA TOUR supports local and national organizations in a range of areas that affect the lives of millions in the communities where the players live and compete. Countless players on the TOUR are also involved in charity work and support the same movements the PGA does. For example, there is the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Bubba Watson Foundation, both in which aid in helping those with needs. Through CSR’s, players and organizations no longer have to waste money on advertising themselves or campaigning. A Corporate Social Responsibility generates free publicity and engages fans and other business opportunities in an admirable way.