BRAND DEVELOPMENT TIPS AND TRICKS DURING THE OFF-SEASON
By Chris Aumueller, Fanword
Since NIL laws changed on July 1, 2021, tens of thousands of NIL deals have been facilitated through agents and marketplace platforms. We’ve seen athletes engage in all sorts of activities, ranging from social media endorsements to merchandise sales to virtual coaching lessons and everything in between. Fact of the matter is, there are endless opportunities for student-athletes to monetize their personal brand.
All of this brings up one important question: What is it that helps an athlete actually sign an NIL deal with a company, fan, donor, or any other supporter? And, as expected, many variables come into play here. None, however, is as important as the athlete’s personal brand.
The formula is quite simple. A strong personal brand = more NIL opportunities.
Building a strong personal brand takes time, work, and dedication. But fortunately, everyone can do it. And the good news, the market has already shown time and time again that you don’t have to be a high-profile athlete to build a recognizable, influential brand.
The most important part in building a strong personal brand is taking the first step. Getting started is half the battle and now, during the off-season, student-athletes should use some of their down time to invest in themselves.
To get started, here are three things EVERY athlete can work on/learn about before returning to campus.
Before athletes begin to randomly post content on social media or reach out to companies on LinkedIn, it’s important for them to self-reflect and have a really good idea of who they are and who they want to be. They should ask themselves questions like:
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I value most?
- What kind of deals am I interested in?
- What makes me unique?
- What am I really good at?
- What kind of brands do I want to work with?
- How much time do I want to dedicate towards brand development and NIL?
Once athletes have a better understanding of the type of brand they want to build, it’s time to set it in motion. They should create a plan that outlines some of the following pieces:
- When to post content
- What kind of content to post
- How often to interact with brands
- Where to find brands
- How to promote my brand
Every plan needs some finetuning. And in order to figure out what needs to be finetuned, athletes have to measure and track their plan execution. They should check things like:
- What kind of content performs best?
- On which platform is my audience most engaged?
- Which marketplace has created the most opportunities for me?
- What did I enjoy/struggle with in my last NIL deal?
The off-season is a great opportunity for athletes to get a head start on NIL year 2. Putting in the work now will be worth it when the new academic year starts.
Meet the Expert Contributor
Christopher Aumueller is the CEO of FanWord, a student-athlete branding and NIL company. FanWord's solutions are used by 30+ athletic departments, helping thousands of student-athletes build, protect, and promote their personal brands. If you want to learn more about FanWord, please visit our website or connect with Chris via LinkedIn.