The entire basketball world has come to a halt this week as four-time NBA MVP LeBron James decides hit future in terms of what city’s team he will be joining. Most of the experts and pundits have concluded his choice is down to two places: Cleveland or Miami.
While the anticipation and speculation continues to escalate, LeBron’s value only increases. How? Because of his personal branding strategy. Consumers and fans love being a part of something. They enjoy having some connection to star power, regardless of how far away they actually are.
Merchandise, for example, is an easy way to be “right alongside LeBron.” You can buy a jersey with his name and number on the back. You can buy his shoes, T-shirts, sweatbands, buy the drinks he endorses, and even be his “friend” on social media. (You know there’s a powerful brand when LeBron’s website has its own Twitter handle.)
The numbers don’t lie: “Nike LeBron Brand Hits $300 million in sales for 2012,” reported nikelebron.com. And that’s mostly just shoe sales.
It’s not just sports stars that understand the value of branding. Beyonce has a clothing line, Shakira perfume. It never ends. When people love someone, they tend to buy whatever that person supports or endorses.
For companies operating in the digital environment, branding is paramount. Reputation management practices must be implemented so consumers trust your business and want to use you in the future. An extremely strong band will do just that.