With the Ministry of Sports Marketing Conference just weeks away, John Bastick, Editor at B&T writes about the importance of social media when it comes to brand ambassadors. 

With more and more marketers looking to brand ambassadors one expert says there’s one skill to look for when deciding on who’s best to be front and centre of your brand – one with savvy social media skills and, ideally, an online following.

kelliThat’s the advice of Kelli Masters (below), a leading US sports agent and keynote speaker at the upcoming Ministry of Sports Marketing conference in Sydney on 19th July.

Masters specialises in sponsorships with NFL players and was once voted as one of the top 25 most influential women in US sports.

She says the hoopla around social media is deserved as is the ability to monetise it and adds it’s the biggest thing in US sports marketing circles at present. 

“Athletes and companies alike are exploring ways to harness and monetise the power of fan engagement, content creation and branding through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more.  More than ever, that is the focus,” Masters told B&T.

Masters – whose comments obviously come with a sports focus – says sports stars in the US have long realised the earning potential off the field but adds a lot of her clients can have “unreasonable expectations” about the sort of deals they can land.

“But every athlete who is willing to work hard at their craft and create their own brand through community involvement, engagement and responsible media/social media practices can find ways to develop additional income streams,” she added.

“It often takes a great advocate time and a lot of creativity to produce opportunities.  But it can be done. For higher profile athletes who are able to get larger deals, the importance really is staying ‘on brand’ and maximizing opportunities without overexposure.”

Masters agreed that it’s often tougher for female sportspeople to land the big deals that their male counterparts can, primarily due to the mainstream popularity of men’s sports.

“It all comes down to the popularity of the athlete,” Masters said. “Individual athletes can gain significant notoriety and therefore marketability through remarkable athleticism and accomplishments; take Ronda Rousey or Serena Williams.

“Unfortunately, the mass appeal of some female athletes is still based upon looks. But, with that understanding, I do believe that women can embrace who they are and be recognised for their accomplishments not just their beauty.

“You may have a great athlete with a great backstory, but if the sport is not widely viewed then marketing that athlete can difficult.  I think, as an agent, it is important to know my client well, know what brands are a great fit for him or her, then find synergies and opportunities while managing expectations and setting realistic goals,” Masters said.

Kelli is speaking in Australia at the Ministry of Sports Marketing Conference on 19 July about player endorsements and social media. She’ll be explaining the intricacies of an athlete’s career and how to build their brand for life by producing creative content and negotiating the right partnerships.

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