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personal brands

Reclaiming Brand Authenticity, LeBron James is Coming Home

Posted by brandchannel on July 15, 2014 01:03 PM

LeBron James has always been more than an athlete—he’s a brand. The overwhelmingly positive sentiment surrounding the NBA star's decision to return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers underscores an important truth: a brand's ability to attract customer loyalty, and in turn, maximize earning potential, is not solely the result of a high-quality product, but its ability to communicate authenticity and purpose.

Indeed, while LeBron has spent much of his career as one of the greatest basketball players on Earth, his stature amongst fans has always been intimately tied to his authenticity and purpose. The strength of LeBron’s personal brand at the start of his career was largely due to the authenticity of his narrative. LeBron overcame poverty and an absent father to become the future of his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. He embodied the struggle of the city and the resolve needed to rise above adversity.

In 2008, James released a documentary about his high school basketball team, More than a Game. The documentary depicted how the evolution of his game stems from the evolution of his relationships. It’s his brand positioning: "This is why I care." It was a gripping narrative that fans could feel through every spectacular dunk, emphatic block and signature powder toss. As the title of his documentary suggests, LeBron’s story has always been “More than a Game.”Continue reading...

World Cup Daily

Winner Takes All: No Matter the Outcome, adidas Will Win the World Cup

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 10, 2014 02:22 PM

When Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez put the final ball into the back of the net at the end of the seemingly endless World Cup semifinal against the Netherlands, there was a lot of celebrating going on across the globe. One place where there was sure to be extra high fives was within the offices of adidas.

The game, along with the other World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil, had pitted teams outfitted by adidas against those outfitted by Nike, and in both cases, the adidas-clad team won. Now adidas will have a World Cup final all of its own, featuring the man who has been the centerpiece of its World Cup-related marketing: Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

“Sponsoring the final teams is the grand prize for the apparel brand,” John Kristick, global chief executive officer of ad buying agency GroupM, part of WPP Plc., told Bloomberg. “There will be an immediate sales lift in the winning country, but these teams are football powerhouses—where, win or lose, the support for product sales will remain strong.”Continue reading...

china

China's Li-Ning Sticks to its Roots to Build Consumer Clout Over Nike, Adidas

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on February 28, 2014 11:12 AM

In China, the sporting apparel market is a bit of an anomaly. For one thing, fitness and physical activity in China is a lot less common than in other global markets like the US, Europe and South America. And when Chinese consumers do hit the gym or track, it's usually in their street clothes. 

That presents a unique challenge for both foreign and domestic brands like China's Li-Ning, the oldest and second-largest Chinese sporting goods brand. Facing the relentless competition of Nike, adidas and Under Armour on both its home turf and abroad, Li-Ning has had to adjust its product and growth strategies to focus less on hard-core athletic gear as a free-expression trend continues to grow among China's fashion-savvy youth.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Are You Ready to Rupp? Iconic Arena to Get Major Overhaul

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2014 11:49 AM

Rupp Arena, the home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, is a bit of a basketball mecca. Roundball fans travel from around the US to take in a game there and experience UK fever. 

But fans may want to put off their trips for a few years now that the University of Kentucky and local government is injecting $310 million to update the iconic arena. Improvements will include separating the arena from the adjoining convention center, replacing its current beige façade with glass windows, new luxury boxes, a center-hanging scoreboard and one improvement that will likely change the game-watching experience for the thousands of attendees: chair backs for all!Continue reading...

sporting brands

Sweet Kicks: Foot Locker, NBA Extend Multi-Year Marketing Partnership

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2013 04:12 PM

For nearly two decades, Foot Locker and the NBA have had a fruitful partnership, one that won't be ending anytime soon. The twosome just agreed to a multi-year deal that makes the retailer an official marketing partner of the NBA, MediaPost reports. This puts Foot Locker in the same category as Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo, American Express, Adidas, Nike, and 13 other major brands. 

Fans that tune into All-Star weekend’s annual skills competition will witness the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest—both on TV and online. The retailer will also sponsor the "Kicks of All-Star" section on NBA.com, which will show-off footwear—most available for purchase from the retailer—worn by NBA stars during All-Star weekend.Continue reading...

sporting brands

LeBron James Teams With Old Pals Nike and Samsung for NBA Season Opener

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2013 06:33 PM

The NBA season kicks off Tuesday night with the defending champion Miami Heat versing the Chicago Bulls, and if LeBron James' latest Nike ad has anything to say about it, it seems that James is feeling pretty carefree heading into another season.

The new TV commercial, titled "Training Day," follows James riding his bike through the streets of Miami, all along collecting a troupe of neighborhood kids like a scene out of Rocky II.

James, wearing his new LeBron XI shoes, is seen heading to the arena to practice some shots, the beach for a swim, and ending at the playground to play some pickup with the kids.Continue reading...

Taco Bell, NBA Renew Cross-Platform Sponsorship Deal with New Video Twist

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2013 12:57 PM

When the Chicago Bulls take on the champion Miami Heat on Oct. 29 for the NBA season opener, viewers can be sure to have a hankering for a beefy, crunchy burrito or a sweet churro before the final buzzer sounds.

Taco Bell has been the official QSR partner of the league for the last four years and now the pair have announced an extension of that deal that includes prominent placement during telecasts and online through all of the NBA, WNBA, and D-League platforms.

The multiyear deal will also include a new digital/social media program on NBA.com and other platforms dubbed "Buzzer Beaters" that will aggregate video of game-winning shots, according to Ad Age.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Nike Sees $36 Billion Future in Basketball, Running Gear

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 11, 2013 11:58 AM

Over 80 analysts and investors gathered in the Tiger Woods Center at Nike's Oregon headquarters on Wednesday for the company's annual Investor Day, and boy did they get good news.

Various company heads took the stage to assure investors that the 45-year-old company, which was just named Forbes' Most Valueable Sports Brand with a brand value of $17.5 billion, currently nets revenues of over $25 billion, plans to hit $30 billion in revenue by 2015, and $36 billion just two years after that. 

How will they do it? Growing businesses that they are already strong in, of course, including basketball, running and women’s apparel and footwear.Continue reading...

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