What is Personal Branding? It is the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about yourself as an individual. It is a marketing strategy that involves establishing an expectation or impression in the mind and attract where they can be sure of what to expect when they interact with you.
With a brand you always know what you get. You can say the name of a good brand and know exactly what they stand for, what they represent and what you will get if you work with them.
Think about these popular athletic brands: Nike, Under Armour, Gatorade, Red Bull. I’m willing to bet we all think about the same things.
The moral of this story is that if you get YOU right, then you become your own Brand, and coaches, teammates, fans, media and anyone else that comes into contact with you will know what to expect.
Before you begin your recruiting process, before you outline your action plan and absolutely before contacting any schools and coaches, take some time to get to know yourself, and figure out how you want to present yourself to coaches that may be recruiting you.
The following is some high level information and activities for you as an introduction to your Personal Brand. Want more? You can bring Access Sport in to speak with your family, group or team to workshop Branding and Brand management.
Part I: Brand Identification
Learning about your own personal brand will help you identify the unique features of yourself, and your skill that set you apart from every other athlete that is trying to be recruited to play university sport. Your brand reflects your personal core values and will help determine how you conduct yourself, and how you are perceived by others as you build relationships with coaches and staff of your target teams.
How would you answer the following about yourself?
- Three qualities that describe yourself as an athlete
- As an athlete, what do I do well or what areas do I need improvement on
- Three qualities that describe me as a student
- As a student, what do I do well or what areas do I need improvement on?
- Three qualities that describe my work ethic
Now consider….would your friends, family, or coaches all describe you the same way?
Part II: Brand Management
Who you are, and the qualities of your personal brand should carry through every aspect of your life. These days, just about every stage of recruiting takes place online. How your personal brand is communicated on the internet should be of primary importance to you. Lets be honest, the first thing coaches, admissions officers, and future employers do is Google your name. What are they going to find?
Take some time to make sure that the positive qualities you have identified about yourself as a student and an athlete are shining through on each of your personal media profiles.
Your online presence should show you:
- getting outside
- being active
- helping or encouraging others
- playing / multi-sports
- being a strong leader
- demonstrating your work ethic
What do you do when you are not in the classroom, or training for your sport? How is that demonstrated online?
Your online presence should NOT show
- Vanity or self-obsession (too many selfies, look how hot I look without a shirt on, or in this tight/short skirt)
- Partying, drinking, alcohol or drugs in any way – even if you are not participating, who you surround yourself with will reflect directly back on you.
- Bullying, including judging others, teasing or making fun of others
- Inappropriate images
- Likes, shares or comments on any inappropriate posts by others
Ask your parents, a coach or mentor to review your media profiles. Summarize the answers to these questions below:
- If you had to form an opinion on me based on my media profiles, in what would it be?
- Based on my social media profiles, do you think I would be a positive representative of a university sport program?
- What suggestions can you give me to improve my online brand?
Part III and IV: Brand Communication and Brand Summary
How do other people perceive you, and how you want to be perceived by other people? Take some time to consider if you want or need to make any changes to your personal brand. Are you successfully communicating your personal brand or do you need some help to re-frame your verbal and non-verbal communication, or social media presence.