Ireneo Snell and Nikita de Haan, both alumni of Johan Cruyff Institute and representatives of Valenze, discussed in a webinar the importance and benefits of having an authentic and outstanding athlete brand
Creating an authentic and outstanding athlete brand can help female athletes become financially stable so they can fully focus on the development of their professional career and be a full-time professional. Valenze supports and empowers female football players in the development of their personal athlete brand. In a recent webinar, CEO Ireneo Snel and general manager Nikita de Haan, both alumni and official partners of Johan Cruyff Institute, talked about authentic and outstanding personal branding.
Ireneo Snel is the CEO and founder of Valenze. After graduating from his Master in Football Business in partnership with FC Barcelona, he saw an opportunity to start a business in a fast-growing market and to help professional female football players with their development. Ireneo has worked with (semi-)professional athletes in sports such as football, waterpolo, athletics, tennis and windsurfing, and has the ambition to help them develop their personal and professional career.
Nikita de Haan is the general manager of Valenze, joining Ireneo only a few months after he founded the company. Having worked in events for the Dutch Football Federation, Nikita was working in online marketing before she started the same Master in Football Business that Ireneo did. With experience in and a passion for football, she is excited to work on the development of women’s football and female players on a daily basis.
The importance of personal branding
You might have heard the term ‘personal branding’ several times. Maybe you haven’t really thought about it or think you don’t need a personal brand. But the reality is that even if you don’t make any attempt to create your personal brand, it still exists—even more so if you are active online.
“To have a good reputation and representation of your personality, you have to work consciously on your personal brand”
People will create a certain image of you based on what other people say, which might not be a good representation of who you really are. Because your personal brand is eventually just your reputation. And to have a good reputation and representation of your personality, you have to work consciously on your personal brand! There are different reasons for personal branding and why it can be beneficial to you. Let us name a few:
You are in charge of your own reputation
Personal branding is all about having control over your own reputation. If you are not working on your personal brand, you let other people create your image for you. And that is not what you want. You want to be in charge! If you spend time on personal branding, you can positively influence what other people will say about you, because you decide what to show and how to position yourself.
“If you are not working on your personal brand, you let other people create your image for you”
You create more exposure
As an athlete, you want to be seen. You want people to know that you are a good player to increase your chances of a transfer to a more successful team. You want businesses to notice you, so they will consider you for a sponsorship deal. The more exposure you get, the more you will get noticed by others. Your personal brand helps you to grow your audience and to grow that exposure.
You boost business opportunities like sponsorships
An important benefit of building and growing your personal brand is that it increases your sponsorship opportunities. A strong personal brand means strong values, a strong personality, and a unique identity. And with that you will distinguish yourself from others. Your audience identifies with you on a personal level, which is extremely interesting for companies with similar values and target audience. A match made in heaven?
“A strong personal brand means strong values, a strong personality, and a unique identity”
You increase your value
Who do you think will have a higher value: someone with a strong brand who has created a unique image, or someone who presents themself just like any other athlete?
You probably know the answer. You have to invest time and energy if you want to develop your brand, but it will help you increase your market value in return. With a stronger brand, more potential sponsors will be interested in working with you and they will be willing to offer you more as well.
“With a stronger brand, more potential sponsors will be interested in working with you”
You increase the chance of securing (future) job opportunities
Do you ever ask yourself what will happen when your football career is over? What are you going to do?
Your personal brand helps you increase your opportunities in your post-football career. It enables you to share your knowledge and experience with your audience, so you can position yourself as an expert in the field you are passionate about. This can be connected to a study you did or are doing, hobbies you have or other things you have done during your football career. But it also gives you the opportunity to build your network. The network you are building today may be very useful later and can definitely positively affect your future career opportunities.
“Your personal brand helps you increase your opportunities in your post-football career”
You can find clients for your own business
Some players have started their own business during their football career. If you have a business you need clients, and personal branding can help you with this. With your personal brand, you can build trust with your audience and position yourself as an authority in your industry. The stronger and more authentic your brand is, the deeper the connection with your audience will be.
“The stronger and more authentic your brand is, the deeper the connection with your audience will be”
Personal branding has great benefits for everyone, but to get the most out of your personal brand, you need to define your authentic identity first.
We invite you to watch the recording of the webinar in which Ireneo and Nikita talked to us about personal branding. And stay tuned for the next blog where we will delve much deeper into the topic.
This was Part I of ‘Authentic and outstanding athlete branding’. Click on this link to go to Part 2 of the article