Personal Branding Secrets: Lessons from NFL Superstars

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The NFL regular season has just kicked off, much to the relief of football fans everywhere who were worried about the lockout that consumed the summer. But the NFL has more to offer us than just football… in fact, we can learn valuable lessons about personal branding from some of the players. Below are three personal branding secrets we can learn from NFL superstars:

1) Social Media is a great way to bypass traditional media and connect directly with your audience. NFL stars such as Chad Ochocinco (@ochocinco), Arian Foster (@ArianFoster), and Mike Vick (@mikevick) have built tremendous followings and have used the platform to engage with their audience. Chad Ochocinco, in particular, is a prolific tweeter and is able to interact with his fans in ways that traditional media doesn’t allow.

2) It’s never too late to turn around a struggling brand. Just recently, Mike Vick signed a new contract worth $100 million dollars. Yes, this is the same Mike Vick who, only four years ago, was convicted of dog fighting and spent time in jail. He was on the verge of bankruptcy and his professional career appeared all but over. But instead of giving up, Vick took responsibility for his mistakes and set out to make things right. He has become an advocate for animal rights and a contributor to many charities. By and large, his audience has forgiven him and embraced his return to superstardom.

3) Sometimes, branding can even trump performance. Last year, Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow started only one game in the NFL. Despite that, he led the league in jersey sales for 2010. That’s right—Tebow sold more jerseys than Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback who led the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl title. He outsold superstars such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Adrian Peterson. Why? Because of the power of his brand. Tebow is no doubt working hard to make a real impact on his team in football terms… but the power of his brand is unquestioned.

NFL players aren’t only strong, fast, and talented—some of them are branding geniuses. We would all be well-advised to pay attention to the tactics they employ!