The concept of branding has been around for centuries, but personal branding is a relatively new concept that has been defined and executed by many public figures. With the rise of technological advancements like social media, professional athletes have ample opportunities to connect with consumers outside of their respective court. Our thesis team conducted research with Dr. John Eaton and Professor Daniel McIntosh to analyze how athletes’ actions and behaviors affect consumers’ opinions about their brand.
We developed multiple surveys that were distributed to Marketing & Business Performance (MKT 300) students at Arizona State University and AWS Mechanical Turk Workers. The goal of obtaining information from both college students and paid survey-takers was to compile a diverse set of opinions regarding how consumers react to athletes’ social media and public behavior. This led us to analyze how consumers interact with athletes on social media platforms based on the sport they play and consequences of their actions. After examining our consumer research, interviewing executives in the legal background, and talking to some of the university’s top-prospective athletes to gain different viewpoints, we created consumer and athlete categories.
We established six main consumer categories and six main athlete social media strategy personas in order to create social media strategy recommendations. With this information, athletes have the opportunity to develop well-thought out social media strategies that are more tailored to their fan base(s). Athletes must be cognizant of how the content on their social media accounts and their public actions will affect consumers’ perceptions about who they are and their personal brand.
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