Iker Casillas, a personal brand suffering side effects

Iker Casillas, like others sportmen, has an important share of his incomes coming from advertisement and image rights. The world class goalkeeper has symbolized in the last years the perfect athlete, a top football player with such a shiny performance on and off the pitch. We all have a personal brand, a bunch of values which configures and projects our image to the society. Ikers´image was excellent, almost pristine.

This spotless image drew the attention of many commercial brands, intending to link Casillas´values to theirs, something that in the most cases works perfectly, because sport is the most universal vehicle to convey brand values and benefits for companies.

When it comes to make marketing campaigns, even though sport is almost infallible, there are certain risks that companies assume when allocating their marketing budgets. This risk ranges depending on the type of sporsonship they decide to undertake.


Casillas, Diego López and Keylor Navas in a training session

Since Iker Casillas were sent to the bench by Mourinho, his career has experienced a slowly decrease so far. After some controversia about his physical condition and the unusual Carlo Ancelotti´s decision of alternating him with Diego López in the competitions where Real Madrid took part, we have as a result a damage on his personal brand. And, on top of that, yesterday August 9th, the hashtag #CasillasEresunMiserable (#CasillasyouareMisrable) became in Trending Topic in Spain.

In my opinion, this risk is higher when you link your brand to one person, regardless of the popularity and apparent stable life of the athlete. There are lot of cases where from a day to another, a sportman becomes from an idol into a fool. It pops up into my mind the recently case involving Luis Suarez or the paradigmatic ones of Tiger Woods and Lance Arnstrong, cases which forced brands to remove or even start lawsuits with the sport stars.

First conclusion, the more attached the brand is to an individual, the more risk they take over.

How can we avert this risk?

It is very simple, there are championships and teams that you can as a brand to sponsor, and despite the fact that a single player could misbehave on or off the pitch, the brand image is not going to be disgraced. But the point is that brands have to be careful with sponsorship  submitted to the team success , because if the team fail, the brand fail, and the whole media program lose all sense after the fail. That´s what recently happened in Brazil World Cup, lots of brands in Spain were convinced that by sponsoring the Spanish National Team their brand awareness and engagement with their targets were guaranteed. But it turned out to be the very opposite.

Second Conclusion, the more you link your campaign success to the team success, the more risk you assume.

Then, is a good idea invest in sport?

Absolutely yes, it is the most accurate way to get the most of your marketing budget, especially in this moment when competitiveness and globalization demands to allocate correctly every coin you invest. All types of forms of publicity have their risk, advertisement is not a science and have an inner risk you need to narrow down as much as possible. Sports have inherent values that are a real treasure for brands to be linked with. Sportmanship, respect, solidarity, effort, overcoming limits, compromise, education and so on. Definitely the values any brand would like to be identify with. And you, as a company, can be associated with this rich values by averting the risk mentioned above. A company can sponsor a team better than a single person, without submitting their results to the team ones.

There are specific teams that help a company achieve this results as well as making Corporate Social Responsability actions (CSR), like sponsoring young teams and academies in order to help the youth to make their dreams come true. WEA Academy is one of them, a project created to help young football players reach professional football, by minimizing the fact of living in areas far away of cities where their talent could be found.

Third conclusion, sport is the most safe area to invest because it has the capacity of connecting emotionally people, whatever their religion, country or beliefs are.



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