With the new ruling that enables NCAA athletes to commercially benefit from their name, image, and likeness and monetize their social media presence, there will be an inevitable shift in culture amongst teams. But what does shift mean for university administration and coaching staff?
Coaching and developing young adults already requires a certain degree of guidance and support from team and university leadership for each individual student-athlete. This is leaving many schools worried about equity around whether student-athletes will demand compensation for school-related appearances, and how this subsequently forces the administration and coaching staff to become liaisons for these relationships. Being able to support and guide these athletes requires a different skillset entirely especially when many of the athletes on a team may not have representation or sponsorship deals of their own.
So, how can NCAA coaches and staff provide support and guidance for their endorsable athletes? Our team of publicists and marketing pros with experience in college sports and professional sports communications provide unparalleled insight into how coaches and administration can best guide their athletes in the right direction when it comes to personal branding, sponsorship, marketing, and everything in between.
Media Training for Sports Teams, Coaches, and Administration
With athletes collecting endorsement deals and sponsorship, their fame will undoubtedly increase. They will become more in-demand for press and media, and as a result, they will be asked to be ambassadors and spokespeople for various businesses and brands. As a coaching and/or administrative staff you may not be able to take on the role of a publicist, but you can most definitely support your athletes by providing good media training resources. After all, good press for one of your athletes is good press for your program, and good press for your university as a whole.
Media Training is a form of communications training that helps individuals navigate media interviews by anticipating reporter behavior, avoiding detrimental questions, and focusing on the key messages that need to be put out to represent an athlete’s personal brand. Media training allows the student-athletes to focus on their objectives in interviews without being derailed.
The goal here is that interviews should contribute to some sort of gain or promotion for athletes. Media training provides the right framework for understanding interviewers and how they may approach an athlete and how the athlete can stick to those key messages to ensure they’re effectively representing their brand, and not getting duped into answering offside or out-of-bounds questions.
Media training also teaches basic fundamentals for how to carry yourself in an interview. Body language can speak volumes in video-based interviews so you want to make sure the story an athlete is telling is complementary to their actions. This will ensure that they are able to make a conversation flow articulately while under pressure.
In many cases, an athlete’s ability to handle press can aid or detract from their brand as a whole. As a coach and administrative staff, providing media training to your athletes can not only help athletes support their sponsors but can also act as a great testament to your program and university.
Coach on Aligning Student-Athlete Personal Brands with Your Program
One of the struggles found amongst many professional sports teams’ communication departments is ensuring their messaging is being represented by an athlete while the athlete is also representing their own personal brand simultaneously. Sometimes the goals of athletes differ from that of the team as a brand. As a coach of a sponsored athlete, how do you ensure your program goals are being represented while athletes are representing their own goals? This can be accomplished through key messages and the alignment of brands.
What are Key Messages
• Clear, concise, memorable thoughts that align with brand objectives.
• Concepts about your brand identity that you want your audience to remember above all else.
• Key messages are meant to be biteable pieces of information that are easily associated with your brand identity after any media interaction.
How can you connect your key messages with an athlete’s personal brand?
It could very well be the case that athletes may now gain sponsorship from competitors of the brands with which your program is partnered. So how exactly should you support them while protecting your programs’ equity?
Begin by leveraging the power of your athlete’s personal brands and how they associate with your programs. Simply enough, keep doing what you have always done for your athletes and offer full support to the endorsements they receive and subtly associate their image with your school and specific athletic program. Follow this continued effort by ensuring that athletes are well versed in school and program key messages in relation to their own can aid your brand value while helping them build theirs.
By having three to four clear and concise key messages to represent your program’s brand identity you can ensure when asked about the school and athletic program, these messages are always used in answers by the student-athletes. Athletes’ personal goals will differ from a program, the way around this is to note what that athlete’s key messages are and ensure that they don’t contradict the values and principles of your school and program. Working with an athlete’s brand instead of against it will by association help your athletic program and possibly draw more sponsors for your program as a whole.
The key to supporting your athletes is ensuring they are prepared for the responsibility and actions that come with being an endorsable personal brand. While you can’t necessarily act as their publicist, you can provide tools to support them when they do work with sponsors so they effectively represent both your program and themselves.
If you can start to do these things as an administrator or coach for student-athletes and can commit yourself to help these young adults develop a personal brand that fits a niche and market that they identify with, you will have set up a foundation that will aid them in gaining potential sponsorship opportunities that reflect well on them and your program.
For more information on how to support your endorsable athletes, and to gain access to media training resources make sure to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of the Otter PR experts. We have worked with thousands of thought leaders, influencers, businesses, and brands and are happy to help you develop an understanding of how to align your program’s brand with those of your athletes, building a collective brand that resonates with fans and sponsors alike. Who knows, after the call, we may even be able to connect your athletes directly with internal sponsorship opportunities.
If you found this information useful, please share this blog and the video that comes with it with your staff and administration. And make sure to subscribe to our channel for more ways to build your brand, get media placements, and more.