Unique. Some would say the word has lost some of its punch because of how frequently it gets thrown around.
But in the world of athlete brand, "uniqueness" really matters.
So what is it that makes an athlete's brand stand out?
Brand is about how and why people remember you. It's not about clicks, likes or viral moments.
We remember people that are authentic. We remember stories. We remember fun quirks and interesting hobbies. We remember values in action.
Too often athletes worry they aren't memorable because they haven't won a gold medal yet. While we definitely remember achievements, it's not the only thing that leaves a mark.
Athletes are people first and their life in AND beyond sport is fascinating. Not only does it leave an impression, it also creates connection.
Finding a point of difference
It can be easy to lump athletes together and view them as one and the same. (Hey, even athletes do it to themselves!) It's why so many athletes think the only message of value they have to offer is "Dream. Believe. Achieve."
But EVERY athlete is unique. When athletes break out of the stereotypical "athlete" image and add in their own style and flavour, that's where the magic happens.
So for an athlete's brand to be memorable, it has to be theirs – not a copycat of some other athlete who appears to have cracked the branding code.
Brand connects unique individuals to unique opportunities
An athlete's brand doesn't need to be shocking or totally out of the ordinary. But stepping into their story, their passions and interests outside of sport, the things that make them a person first — now that's how you create an impression.
Take elite wheelchair basketballer, Damon Jaenke for example. He's used his passion for mental health to create impact, spread a message and grow his athlete brand.
He's a charity ambassador for organisations like Sane Australia and Livin, he shares his story with mental health through public speaking and is now a sponsored athlete. Damon has achieved all of this by understanding that his unique story is his to share.
He knows that there's more to his story than just his athletic achievements. It's about the journey and challenges that have accompanied him along the way.
Another athlete might have an interest in fashion and share their style tips on TikTok. Others will be passionate about women in sport and be actively spreading their message in the media. While some will care deeply about inspiring the next generation and so you'll find them leading coaching programs and school talks.
The final word
There is no perfect, algorithm friendly formula to athlete brand building. It's about embracing authenticity and not shying away from uniqueness.
Athlete's are people. They're multifaceted. And when they embrace all the elements of their brand (like their passion for mental health or love of fashion) that's what creates real connection and impact.
Meet The Brand Builders
We teach athletes how to build their brand and connect with the opportunities that are uniquely right for them. We're passionate about helping athletes elevate their journey in and beyond sport.
Our Athlete Brand Education is delivered to the world's leading sporting organisations via workshops, webinars and 1-1 mentoring. We're based in Brisbane, Australia but work all over the globe.
Want to learn more about our approach? Catch our latest webinar on how the 99% of athletes can benefit from their brand.