There's been a pretty significant shift in the commercial and marketing landscape in the last few years that offers huge value to athletes.
Human-to-human or peer-to-peer marketing has taken off. In the vast overwhelm of big dollar advertising, flashy billboards and sponsored content, it's real people that are breaking through the noise.
A Nielsen study found 92% of consumers trust recommendations from real people above all other forms of advertising. It's not hard to see why featuring real people as ambassadors for your brand works. People like people.
The 99% have their own special superpower
Now, here's where the 99% of athletes get to enjoy a win-win. And by 99% we mean athletes that don't have huge media profiles (just yet, at least) but still have incredible stories, networks and value to offer.
The 99% are normal, everyday people. Yes, they have achieved incredible athletic success, but they also live in suburbia, drive a Ford Focus and work a day job. And yet...because of their athletic prowess, we still see athletes (all of them, not just the big names) as inspirational figures. We marvel at their talent and stand in awe of their absolute dedication to their passion.
The shift in the marketing landscape, means athletes get the best of both worlds.
They make incredible ambassadors because they can humanise the brand and help them tap into niche target markets. We trust athletes as credible sources of information. We know that when they tell us they really love a new line of accessible clothing from a local brand, that they're giving you their honest opinion. Their endorsement holds weight.
The big benefits for athletes
The shift in the landscape means the 99% enjoy their own special superpower. It's opened up even more opportunities for them get sponsored, grow their social media, work with charities, promote their profile in the media, represent their sports org and get paid to speak. (Plus more!)
And perhaps the most exciting part is that they can do all this simply by being themselves. They don't need to invent a new version of themselves to connect with these opportunities. It's about embracing what makes them unique and being their most authentic self.
It's also helped show athletes they can and should communicate all the elements of their brand. While athlete life is a hugely important part of who they are, so are those other elements of their personality and story. Like their passion for mental health, their obsession with baking or their message about a fairer playing ground for women in sport.
By sharing their story, beyond just the medal wins, they're able to connect with an audience, a network and build a brand that stands out. Every athlete is unique. They all have different passions, interests, values and messages that make them who they are. By bringing those to life and not hiding them away — now that's how they can really tap into the value this new landscape offers them.
The final word
Niche is in. Normal is chic. Relatable is the hot new trend. But we'll always be drawn to exceptional people. The 99% are both and that's what gives them the cutting edge.
The 99% cut through the noise. They're human, they're relatable and they're real. And the shift has opened up a world of incredible opportunities for athletes. Now is the time for them to build their brand and connect what makes them unique to opportunity.
Before you go...
Dive deeper into how brand benefits the 99% of athletes in our latest webinar. Watch the playback here.