Being an athlete in modern times means way more than being athletic. What sets you apart from the competition? What makes you unique? How recognizable are you? What is your identity? Your brandability is a vital key to success-- on and off the court. It is important for you to increase your visibility, cultivate and maximize a strong image of your values and qualities.
Why is creating a brand important for an athlete?
It’s a representation of yourself and allows you to optimize your viewership- leading to opportunities that give you a chance to learn skills that will be referenceable upon the ending of your athletic career.
It gives you an opportunity to potentially monetize as the rules get set to change for Name, Image and Likeness.
The increase in visibility from your growth will also put the university viewership in a position to grow with you- which can lead to deals for your schools in the future depending on the size of the growth.
And despite branding being vital to an athlete's success, NCAA rules restricting endorsement deals have hindered many from building their brand and capitalization off of it. However, realizing the importance of endorsements, the NCAA recently announced plans to let athletes capitalize off of their efforts by signing deals as social media influencers; appearing in commercials and other ways.
So how exactly does one improve their brand?
Ways you can prepare today for N.I.L rule to change (Name, Image & Likeness)
I can imagine that many athletes are communicating about what happens next, or fear that their careers may be over, and even just graduated and don’t know what’s next in the job world. Yes, I know many of us adults provide resources to help you. However, when it comes from a peer, its more authentic and transferable. Just starting to write a blog and having other athletes going through the same situation empathize and connect with your story will allow open dialogue. The more people that are involved in your blog, the more viewership and the more potential opportunities for advertisement to want spots on your page. If you begin today, by the time the rule changes you will have learned how to write better, how to create a digital website, understand the data based on metrics, marketing, and becoming a self-starter. And even if nothing monetary comes out of this, you will always have something that can connect you with your peers that understand the shoes you walk in. However, if it does grow, when the rules change you will have an opportunity to make money. As you know being a student-athlete is a full-time job, so if you can find ways to do it, why not start now when you have some downtime.
This is very similar to blog writing. We live in a world where things will become very digital as you may know. Learning skills that will prepare you to always be connected to where we are going means you’re an asset. However, by creating a Youtube channel you can entice fans on your shoe collections, your day to day as an athlete, you’re at home workout routine through these times to stay in shape and more. Gen Z spends an average of 3.4 hours a day on Youtube (Per CNBC). If you stay authentic and people can connect with what your showing, then your viewership may grow, which increases opportunities for you get access to being paid when the rules change. Also the skills you will learn are, but not limited to Video recording, Editing, Marketing, Storytelling, and more. These skills will be very transferable tomorrow.
Lastly Social Media where everyone is at. Whether you have a funny TikTok, or you were a high school phenomenon and already boast a large following on Instagram. You will now have access to many potential customers for e-commerce, you can become brand ambassador for companies, and more. This is where your creativity and personality can shine. As people have low attention span, this gives you a short amount of time to just organically create content and have fun.
We currently don’t know all of the details about the rule change to allow athletes to get paid of their Name, Image & Likeness. However, we do know that being prepared today is more important than waiting and then having to start. With these three things just mentioned you aren’t breaking rules if you start them now and you are actually learning skills that will set up for the future, in my opinion.
If you are a university or athlete with questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us.
Ivan Tchatchouwo, CEO & Founder, The Zone