If you just look around any mall or check out online stores, you’ll see that athletes have become the new celebrity faces of many brands. No matter if Serena Williams and Nike or Lionel Messi and Pepsi, athletes today not only act as spokesmen for the companies but they also sell products. While sports brands have been using pro athletes to promote their products for ages, now other brands from other niches are also trying to cash in the power and influence athletes wield today.
Why? Well, there are only a few other topics that are as controversial as sports. We all know what kind of fire burns in fans when the State of Origin is on, or when Collingwood plays the Swans! Fans of sports are adoring and react to everything their idols do with great passion. So, what happens when you can tap into that passion and turn it into great marketing? You get profit! So, here’s exactly why athletes pose such amazing influencers for brands.
Social media influence
Social media gives athletes a chance to connect with fans and create personal contact with them. Platforms like Instagram or Facebook are now official voices of brands and legitimate marketing strategies which means athletes and brands can provide their fans with engaging experiences.
When a company pairs with an athlete, they almost automatically get all of that athlete’s fans and a huge target audience that’s already interested in things like products they sell. Creating interesting content with athletes can help lifestyle, sports and leisure brands reach a wider audience and sell more product. For instance, in 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most popular soccer players and people on Instagram, signed a lifetime deal with Nike. This not only made him the highest paid athlete in the world but also allowed Nike to access a huge number of fans and boost its likability among soccer fans.
However, it’s not just sports superstars who are getting these huge deals and collaborations. Lesser-known athletes and relevant amateurs are also being contacted by brands with an aim to promote their products. For instance, brands like Rockay work with everyone from semi-pros and amateurs to those who are just into a healthy lifestyle and exercising. When you look at it closely, these people might not have the biggest reach, but they do have a strong influence on other like minded people. People might think: If a regular person uses their socks and compressor sleeves and notices great results, so can I!
Why it works
Putting a face to your brand brings a sense of humanity to it. It also humanizes the lifestyle you’re trying to promote which can be very lucrative. For instance, imagine a pro athlete posting a photo on their Instagram profile wearing brand new Nike wear for their training session, wearing Balenciaga when hitting major events or promoting a certain business like Telstra. This might motivate fans to do the same! Why? Well, by putting on the same gear and clothing, some of the greatness might rub off on us average Joes. This is the power athletes have as influencers.
Why athletes have the advantage
While quite similar to celebrities, athletes do deserve a category of their own because the way they build their fan base is unique. For instance, every time an athlete signs for a different club, they gain a new fan base. Later, depending on their performance, they gain more fans from other clubs. If they are good enough to play for a national team, they will get adopted by yet another fan base. Once they get big, they will have established a pretty big audience that’s ever-growing. And if they continue to share personalized content, their fan base and reach will only get bigger and stronger.
Risks of working with pro-athletes
While it can obviously reap many rewards, working with athletes doesn’t come without risks. Professional athletes might have a talent for selling products, but companies are also getting more selective and strategic when it comes to who they partner with and why. In case an athlete shows any unsavory behavior online or offline, this can put the brand they promote in a tricky situation. From poorly plugged products to offensive tweets and explicit photos, fitness influencers can put an entire brand in danger. Plus, there are many people who do not respect all the payments these athletes are receiving for their recommendations which can hurt both the brand and the athlete.
Despite various risks, many brands choose to work with athletes influencers and they do deliver great rewards. While the key to creating a real buzz lies in the budget, marketing, brand message and image, partnering with the right faces can also greatly help put a brand out there. For now, athlete influencers are the best and easiest way to reach a wide audience of sports fans on social media and out of them, so you can expect to see big names attached to big brands for a long, long time!
See some of our top Athletes on theright.fit:
James Magnussen – Professional Swimmer of 9 years, 3x Olympic medalist, 3x world champion
Francis Cullimore – Professional MMA Fighter, Top 3 Australian Natural Bodybuilding champion
Anna Flanagan – Olympian, dual Comm Games gold medalist, Australian hockey player
Jo Brigden Jones – Olympic kayaker
Sonny Webster – Olympian and Barbell Specialist
Michelle Heyman – Retired Professional Footballer for Australia
Elana Withnall – Internationally ranked Track and Field Athlete
Laura Hodges – Australian female professional basketball player
Khan Porter – Professional CrossFit Athlete
Destanee Aiava – Professional tennis player currently ranked inside top 200 in the world
Andrew Papadopoulos – Australia’s leading and qualified fitness trainer
Submitted by: Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis is a father, writer, and a marketing expert. His favourite quote: There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. You can find him on Twitter.