If you know the difference between a brand and product, then you should also know the difference between an athlete (product) and xy (brand). What’s your choice?
I know, this is not economy or the market place, but I find so many similarities between brands and athletes that I just can’t pass it. The basic difference between the product and the brand is that “brand means a lot more than just product; it represents all the feelings, emotions and experiences the costumer has with a product …” It means the brand is a far more complicated term and exists in the consumer’s mind; each consumer creates his own brand value or brand story, which depends on his personal (brand) experience, opinion and thousands of details which compose a brand.
If we translate importance of a brand into sporting arenas, we come to the conclusion, that a brand – compared to an athlete – are all the feelings and emotions (trust me, in terms of sport this is really important) that the sports fan, your team mates, interested trainer/coach, scouts or managers harbour towards you; i.e. it’s not only about your on-pitch quality (although scoring goals or points seems easy to you), but also (or even more) about your “other”, off-pitch (personality) attributes; how your team mates like you, what you say in the media (and what the media say about you), what can be found about you on the web etc.
Realizing that you have to be focused on all aspects of (not only your on-pitch performance) means you’re already on the right way! It has often been told that decision makers (especially scouts, managers and, of course, trainers) are always looking for the perfect “complete package” (brand) and not just one part of it (product).
Even more, some of the organizations (clubs) formed a special code of conduct. These are definitely factors which shouldn’t be underestimated. The practical advice is, to constantly keep in mind; in your career highlights and bad moments – which your “price” is made up of, depends on more factors you can even imagine. If your brand experience (as an athlete) in general is accepted as positive, everything looks to be fine, but if not, start to think about what and how to change it.
You’re an athlete … you’re a brand!