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Columnists - February 7, 2024

Market value ,  power of personal branding in football 

 

By  Preciousgift Ajudie- Ogunsanya,

I’m not an avid fan of football and my husband isn’t either. So, watching football matches in my home is not an often occurrence.

However, the match between my home Country, Nigeria and South Africa at the AFCON 2023 was an exemption. It was a proud moment for every Nigerian.

Despite my very passive interest in football activities, I am not oblivious to how powerful and wealthy footballers are.

Footballers especially those on the global stage are not just athletes; they are celebrities, influencers, and often revered as demi-gods by die-hard fans.

But beyond the game itself, building a football career is an investment, and
personal branding plays a crucial role in shaping the off-the-pitch image of
players.

Personal branding, in essence, is about managing perception, identity,
reputation, and market value.

For footballers, it goes beyond showcasing their skills on the field; it’s about crafting a relatable and authentic image that resonates with the ‘die-hard’ fans, media, and clubs alike.

One of the primary ways personal branding benefits’ footballers is by allowing them to showcase an off-the-pitch image that can be emotionally and socially stimulating.

By highlighting their values, personality traits, and interests, players garner increased attention, admiration, and respect from stakeholders in the
football ecosystem.

Take the case of Nigeria’s own Ahmed Musa, a prominent footballer who has made significant strides in both domestic and international football arenas.

Ahmed Musa’s rise to prominence began in his hometown of Jos, Nigeria, where
he honed his skills playing street football with friends and participating in local
youth teams.

His talent and dedication caught the attention of scouts, leading to his debut with the Nigerian national team.

As Musa’s career progressed, so did his personal branding efforts. He understood the importance of cultivating a strong off-the-field image that complemented his on-field prowess.

Musa actively engaged with fans on social media, sharing glimpses of his training sessions, match highlights, and personal moments with family and friends.

This authentic and relatable approach endeared him to fans, enhancing his popularity both in Nigeria and beyond.

Moreover, Musa leveraged his platform as a professional footballer to champion social causes close to his heart.

He used his influence to raise awareness about issues such as security issues in Jos, youth empowerment, education, and community development.

Musa’s involvement in charitable endeavors not only showcased his altruistic side but also demonstrated his commitment to making a positive impact beyond the football pitch.

In addition to his social activism, Musa capitalized on endorsement opportunities to further enhance his personal brand.

He partnered with reputable brands that aligned with his values and appealed to his target audience, further solidifying his status as a role model and influencer in Nigerian football circles.

Today, Ahmed Musa’s personal brand transcends borders, making him a recognized figure in global football.

His journey from the streets of Jos to the international stage serves as an inspiration to aspiring footballers across Nigeria and beyond.

Through his dedication, authenticity, and commitment to excellence, Musa has
cemented his legacy as not just a talented footballer but also a respected ambassador for the sport and his country.

Personal branding just like for other professionals also means managing their
Perception, identity, reputation as well as market value to scale up the ladder,
personal branding becomes a marketing and promotional strategy that cannot be
evaded.

Furthermore, personal branding enables footballers to differentiate themselves in
a crowded marketplace.

With so many players vying for attention and opportunities, having a distinct personal brand can set them apart from the competition.

Whether it’s through engaging with fans on social media, participating in philanthropic endeavors, showcasing their unique talents and interests, advocating for social justice, or promoting environmental sustainability, a well-crafted personal brand gives players the voice and credibility to make a meaningful impact beyond the pitch.

Moreover, personal branding can open doors to lucrative endorsement deals and sponsorship opportunities.

Brands are increasingly looking to align themselves with athletes who embody their values and resonate with their target demographic.

By cultivating a strong personal brand, footballers can attract partnerships that not only enhance their financial standing but also provide them with opportunities for personal and professional growth.

In conclusion, personal branding is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a strategic
imperative for footballers looking to maximize their potential both on and off the field.

By investing in their personal brand, players can elevate their careers,
increase their market value, and leave a lasting legacy that extends far beyond
their playing days.

As Nigerian footballers continue to make their mark on the global stage, harnessing the power of personal branding will be essential for
ensuring their success and longevity in the ever-evolving world of football.

On-pitch performance is important for players but it is their personal brand that
often defines their legacy, influence, and earning potential during and after their
playing career.

Preciousgift is a Personal Branding Specialist and Speaker who helps professionals, changemakers, and retirees amplify and build powerful personal brands around their unique
expertise and knowledge for increased impact, influence, and profit. She can be reached via her email thepreciousgiftajudie@gmail.com

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