If you want to gain followers, inspire others and find sponsors then it’s essential to tell your story, show your values and grow your community around your brand.
Social media has changed how the world makes decisions as consumers. It has also given each athlete their own platform to reach out to followers and brands directly. There is an opportunity for the athlete (age-group or professional) to inspire, educate and influence their followers not just when they win, but as they live out the swim-bike-run lifestyle.
The athlete that doesn’t have a voice or is reluctant to have a social media presence will really struggle.
Followers now want a closer ‘behind the scenes’ view of the training and lifestyle of the athlete and more of an insight into the what, how and why.
The best athletes, in terms of building their brand, make their community feel like they are on the journey with them.
As an athlete, you need to target sponsors and companies based on products and services that you’re passionate about and believe in. Just like you, they are trying to tell their story and build their community. They may also need support in getting their brand message out there.
Instead of merely displaying their sponsor’s name across their chest as they break a finish line tape, athletes can offer much more value to brands they partner with.
Along with individual athletes Scott Taylor works with various organisations including Triathlon NZ and Blueseventy NZ/Australia.
After an eight year stint overseas at The Royal College of Surgeons of England as a Knowledge Manager while also photographing some of the largest sporting and music events in the world, he returned home to New Zealand in 2011 to set up Scottie T Photography. In supplying event and commercial images for publishers, photo agencies, event organisers, advertisers, athletes and their sponsors, he moved towards specializing in anything swim, bike, or run.
“Over time as a photographer I recognised that with the growth of social media, businesses not only need great digital content, but also the strategy on how to use it,” he says. “I studied brand development and social media trends closely and I am now a firm believer in the concept of telling your story and building your community.”
“I also believe that there are too many examples of sponsorship that aren’t working as the athlete and business aren’t getting true value out of the opportunity as they don’t understand how.”
Scott works athletes at all levels to help them understand the value their personal brand offers. He explains, “Age-group athletes are in a great position as they are more relatable than pro athletes and are more likely to be leading similar lives to their followers.”
However, he also suggests that this social media landscape also gives professional athletes more avenues than there used to be to activate partnerships. Scott says, “There is a major opportunity for athletes to produce content to help their sponsor brands tell their story whilst also expanding their own community."