Athletes are growing their fan base and market reach through social media and driving an increase in social media marketing. Celebrity endorsers, especially athletes, are highly effective for brands to use in marketing campaigns in order to reach consumers and increase revenue.
Along with the growth in the athlete endorsement market, there have been some trends which have emerged and helped shape the guidelines for athlete endorsements. Keeping these trends in mind when your brand is creating an athlete endorsement can increase the effectiveness of your campaign.
Women stake their endorsement claim
The days of solely relying on male athletes to endorse products are extinct. As more women increase their influence and marketability through social media outlets, more female athletes are signing endorsement deals. Although male athletes still claim the majority of athletic endorsement deals, female athletes are earning more endorsement opportunities than ever before.
Currently the women’s athlete endorsement market is underutilized, making it a great value for targeted endorsements. Rising female stars such as: Alex Morgan, Sloane Stephens, Elena Delle Donne, Sydney Leroux, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins, Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Yu-Na, Stacy Lewis, Victoria Azarenka and Laura Robson offer great marketing value.
As a greater portion of influence shifts toward female athletes, expect to see an influx of spending in this endorsement market.
High profile international sporting events
The Winter Olympics and World Cup will both take place in 2014, and we can hardly wait! These events are enormous and draw a lot of attention which creates great marketing opportunities.
Be sure to consider these two major sporting events and the athletes who participate in them when you map out your endorsement strategy.
However, don’t forget about Olympic Rule 40, which prohibits athletes who have dropped their amateur status and have turned professional from appearing in advertisements with non-official Olympic sponsors in the days leading to the games, during the duration of the games and also for a time after the games. This allows official Olympic sponsors to capitalize on market exclusivity.
Social media is increasing outlets for endorsements
With the development and popularity of social media, athletes now have more avenues for endorsing products. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine/other social media outlets, such as LockerDome, have allowed athletes to become easily accessible to fans, and engaging and connecting with fans through social media has become expected by fans.
Social media endorsements are achieving outstanding results as well. According to Catalyst Public Relations, fans that follow their favorite athletes on social media are 55% more likely to purchase a brand if an athlete mentions it on Facebook or Twitter!
Endorsements made through social media have gained momentum and most athletes are now looking to include social media endorsements in the scope of their endorsement strategies.
Using a diverse endorsement team to hedge risk
While social media outlets have increased the transparency of athletes, there is still some risk involved with athlete endorsers.
Scandals have led companies to restructure their endorsement strategies. Some companies are switching from single-athlete endorsement campaigns to a more diverse “team” of athletes, with none of the marketing focusing heavily on one athlete over the others. Companies like these are hoping to mitigate risk in the event of a scandal while also reducing the risk of an athlete becoming less popular. Additionally, using a team of endorsers allows companies to spread endorsements across multiple sports and seasons in order to appeal to a larger consumer market.
Using a high profile athlete to endorse a company does involve some risk, but companies are developing strategies to hedge risk by using a team of athlete endorsers.
Using a diverse team of athlete endorsers to reach more customers and mitigate social risk, like Playmaker Nutrition, is one of the emerging trends in the athlete endorsement market.
As you can see on their website, Playmaker Nutrition has assembled a diverse team of athlete endorsers including: NBA All-Star and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kevin Love, U.S. Olympic skiing gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, MLB All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, NFL running back Darren McFadden, USWNT member Tobin Heath, NHL All-Star Erik Johnson and skateboarder Tom Schaar, the youngest X-Games gold medalist to date, in order to endorse their nutritional products. Playmaker Nutrition has opted to use a diverse lineup of endorsers because it increases their visibility amongst consumers and hedges risks throughout the endorsement team.
Playmaker also does a great job of utilizing social media endorsements to advertise their brand and engage fans. For example these tweets endorse Playmaker but also engage consumers at the same time.
— Playmaker Nutrition (@BeAPlaymaker) May 16, 2013
— Playmaker Nutrition (@BeAPlaymaker) September 3, 2013
— Playmaker Nutrition (@BeAPlaymaker) November 11, 2013
Putting the emerging trends of athlete endorsements to work for your brand
To recap, some emerging athlete endorsement marketing trends include:
Female athletes are increasing endorsement influence which offers brands more options for endorsements
The 2014 Winter Olympics and World Cup offer great endorsement opportunities
Social media has increased outlets for endorsements and is now a highly effective means for targeting and reaching consumers
Using a diverse team of endorsers is becoming increasingly popular in order hedge risk and increase the scope of your brand
Taking advantage of these endorsement trends can help your brand build more effective endorsement strategies.
Which of these trends can your brand put into action in order to improve your social media marketing strategy in 2014? Not sure where to begin? No problem! You can sign up for free with opendorse and we can help you build a great endorsement marketing strategy for the new year.