Celebrity and soccer player, David Beckham has recently inked (another) endorsement deal; this time a two-year deal with permanent marker company, Sharpie. The deal was negotiated by BrandBuzz, NY, a division of Young & Rubicam Brands, a fully owned subsidiary of WPP Group plc. (WPP is the world’s second-largest advertising and marketing conglomerate).
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it marks the largest global integrated campaign in Sharpie’s history. The former Manchester United star will become the brand’s global ambassador and will star in a global marketing campaign supporting two of the brand’s new products, the Ultrafine Retractable marker and the Sharpie Pen.
I know you’re asking, “What does David Beckham have to do with markers?” Well not much on the surface, but when you dig deeper you see that Sharpie is launching a global campaign and DB is a global icon. Beckham is the prime example of an athlete that has branded himself. This effort has paid off huge for DB as he has racked up sponsorship deals with Adidas, Georgio Armani, Pepsi, Motorola and Coty. These brands also love Beckham because he is a great vehicle for reaching their target market. The consumers that the aforementioned companies want to reach are the same people that identify with the David Beckham experience. If you are thinking, “How can I become as popular and rich as David Beckham?”, then take note of the following 5 steps that every athlete that must follow for Beckham-like success. Agents pay attention, you may learn something too:
Step 1-Form a romantic relationship (marriage is ideal) with some one more famous than you (Marry up!). At the time when Beckham married Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams, Victoria was one of the most famous women in the world as a member of the Spice Girls.
Step 2-Improve your public speaking. DB does interviews and appears on TV all the time. Companies want endorsers and fans want celebrities that can communicate well. Think about how many more endorsements Shaq would have had if he didn’t speak in a monotone.
Step 3—Serve your community. Become a humanitarian. Beckham has won awards for his service to the world. People and corporations love someone who gives back. Find a charity or organization that you can start supporting now! Also if you have been doing service, begin to make it public.
Step 4–Start an official website (and Myspace page). Beckham is a brand with a state of the art site where his fans can visit and discuss the life of Beckham. Take the next step from obscurity by getting people to talk about you in a controlled environment (a site you moderate). The point is to create a pull on the consumers that will subsequently get the attention of sponsors.
Step 5—Dress the part. Beckham is as recognized for his fashion sense as he is for scoring goals. Dwyane Wade was named as one of the world’s best dressed men by both Esquire and GQ Magazine, and look at the wealth and fame that has accompanied young Flash.
Last but not least is skill. I did not list this as a step because it should be a prerequisite. Tiger, Beckham, Lebron, ARod, and Venus are arguably the top competitors in their respective sports and this plays a huge reason why everyone is infatuated with them. But if you are a young athlete or agent with something prove, let the branding process start now! Do not let the window of opportunity pass you by!
Of course becoming a megastar is more complicated than this but if you follow these steps I guarantee you will be off to a good start. In the words of my deceased neighbor Biggie Smalls, “Follow these rules you’ll have mad bread to break up.”
Notes: Other steps that were honorable mentions were 1) A hot nickname 2) Celebrity entourage (Ari Gold included)
I want your opinion, “What else do you think an athlete needs to become a recognizable brand to fans and corporations?”