A massive part of an outdoor brand’s clout are the athletes who they sponsor. Regardless of monetary agreements, when an athlete is aligned with a company, they become a part of what that company stands for. It’s arguable that those athletes provide some of the biggest reach for the company.
1. An athlete’s job is to be an athlete
We use video to connect to with audiences. It helps engage with customers directly. It helps the consumer better understand a company’s products, allegiances, and goals. That is the directive of brand video. That is NOT the directive of your athletes. They are far more focused on the sport than making sure products are in the limelight. So this is one of the gaps that needs to be filled by your own brand video and media story thread.
2. Not everyone connects with athletes
Simply put, there are plenty of people that care more about a brand and their products than the athlete. The opposite is true as well. An athlete is only a small portion of a larger media landscape. A media deployment strategy should include multiple channels for different people. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
3. Control to craft a story
You do not always have the luxury in coaching an athlete through the social media landscape. And more importantly, they may not always stick to the narrative you have created for your brand. By creating your media presence, you have the opportunity to tell the whole story – beginning to end. Just like copy writing, good narrative story telling is nuanced. Think of an athlete as a supplement to the story you are crafting with your brand – not the narrative itself.
… But, athletes ARE important.
Athletes should never be cut out of the equation. They hold a key part to your media strategy. Take this common example from instagram:
Tom Wallisch, Olympic and X-Games Freeskiing Gold Medalist has near 200,000 followers. Whereas his ski sponsor, Line, has only half as many… 90,000+.
So with one athlete, Line has potentially tripled its following. So there is no doubt that athlete representation is extreme important. However, no matter how many hashtags, images, and video an athlete posts (and your brand reposts), if you are not implementing further strategies, there are media opportunities being left on the table.