It’s stories like this that really piss me off.

I’m angry at Nike for being so shady. I’m angry at Kawhi for not doing his due diligence in protecting himself. In my mind, both parties are equally at fault. I just hope that Nike does the right thing and give Kawhi his logo rights back. You can read the story HERE. Let this be a lesson for any Racing Athlete because YES it can happen to you as well. So read on.

I am seeing more professional athletes creating personal brands today. This is great business and tons of smarts on the athlete’s part. There is so much money out there waiting to be made from your fans, you would be stupid not to create a personal brand for yourself!

BUT, I see many issues that can cause a shitload of problems. Racing Athletes need to be educated in personal branding before they even think about creating a personal brand.

Here are some really important dos and don’ts of personal branding for racing athletes:

  1. Do not think that creating a personal brand is as simple as having a logo and plastering it on everything you wear. If you want to create a strong personal brand you need to dig deeper. Why does your brand exist? What does it stand for? What is the story? What are your values? What are your omni-sensory touch points? Answering all of these details will help you in creating a brand that your fans will love forever and be willing to tattoo on themselves…just ask Kiss or the Wu-Tang Clan.
  2. Do have a logo created. But make sure it’s super strong and versatile. Yes, I know you have a buddy who can draw and is willing to make you a logo for some free swag. STOP! Before you hire anyone to design your logo, read my free eBook: The Definitive Step-By-Step No-Nonsense Approach to Getting the Logo You Deserve. This book will guide you through the whole process of logo design. If you want to create a powerful logo that is marketable and easy to reproduce on any merchandise, hire a professional. I see far too many terrible logo designs being sported by racing athletes and all I think is “what a wasted opportunity.” Your logo design has to be spot on and unique. My book outlines the anatomy of a logo. You will benefit from the content in this book.
  3. Do make sure your logo designer gives you complete rights and ownership of the logo once it’s completed. Under no circumstance should your designer ever hold the rights to your logo design. Read the contract and make sure there are no clauses in it that screw you over.
  4. Do make sure you have documentation of your logo’s creation date and trademark it as soon as possible. Copy cats and douchebags will be lurking. Protect your rights by having proof of ownership. You don’t want to become another Kawhi.
  5. Do not EVER sell the rights of your logo to anyone! You hold on to that logo until you are dead! You never know what will happen in the years to come. branding is organic and as you age, the brand will age.
  6. Do have a website created with strong SEO. The moment you sport your logo for the first time in pressers or live TV your fans are going to google it. Give them a place to go to learn more about your personal brand and how to buy your merchandise. Again, you need to be the owner of your web address and website.
  7. Do not align your personal brand with companies that do not share your values. There is nothing worse than seeing an athlete co-produce a product with a company that ends up being an asshole to their customers. Now you’ve damaged your brand and the fall out can be intense. Do you due-diligence.
  8. Do make sure that all designed merchandise matches the quality of your brand and compliments your logo. Remember you have to make this stuff sellable. If you don’t take your time, you end up with a shitload of inventory that makes its way into discount retailers.
  9. Do not be lazy with your marketing efforts. Create a plan and stick to it. If you want to learn the basics of marketing, I wrote another eBook called : Marketing Truths for Business Owners. Download it and read it. 
  10. Do be ready for the onslaught of sales. If you are an athlete that is making waves in your sport, your fans are going to support you by rocking your gear and buying your products. Be ready for it.

These are the basics to personal branding for racing athletes. Following these will keep you safe from harm and ensuring you are making the most revenue possible.

Some parting advice.

If your endorsement company is creating a logo for you, try your hardest to get the exclusive rights to it. If that doesn’t work, go get it done on your own. This ensures that the logo is yours for life. When it comes to merchandise, if you have the money, follow Supreme’s sales model. Make everything limited edition. People love limited runs of merchandise.

If you have any questions about personal branding for racing athletes, contact me. Otherwise, share this with racing athletes you know and help them protect themselves.

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