Across the globe, there are over 7.6 billion humans, 7-9% of this population plays cricket and a much lesser percentage of the same figure plays professionally. Making headlines, winning trophies and medals, making money from allowances and endorsements on regular basis.
That’s a big achievement in life regardless of your nationality, race or continent. People admire you and the 7-9% percentage of the game players wants to be you. So the big question you want to ask is where do you start? How do you gain entrance to the elite clique and start identifying with the big birds in the game, the Sachin Tendulkar of the cricket world?
How can you stand out among the growing millions of cricket players where everyone wants a taste of the fame bud and become a celebrity?
Personal branding is a big factor only bested by your skills and dreams. This article drives you around your future audiences’ community, gives you glimpse at what they expect from you aside your prowess with the cricket ball and tells you what you have not done so far.
Sometimes personal branding can suppress performances and keep you afloat even when your career as a cricketer is taking a slight fall, it can actually happen to any career artist, player or business person. The Nigerian superstar and business mogul D’banj had a similar scenario in his career when he newly left his label but luckily for him, he had a brand to fall back to, he had endorsements, he had koko garri and so many business brands that defined him outside the music scenery,
An unknown quote had it that cricket branding is about the cricketers playing cricket, it certainly has nothing to do with the old men in suits making statements so you see cricketing reward is almost, entirely about you as a person and not the game itself and it surely supersedes what you do out there while you play. While it is very important to point out that your skills and performances are the first definition of you as a cricket player, creating a brand for yourself, defining your persona to your growing fans and making an impact and impression to the society looking up to you and your ability to stand out among the increasing number of players are factors that can never be over emphasized.
HOW TO BRAND YOURSELF AS A CRICKETER
Consciously or otherwise, from the way we talk, the way we chat, we spend, we have induced a branding system to our life routine but having that awareness that you have personally branded yourself makes it different in a way that prepares you for it and keeps you in check. Like one who made a list for shopping in a grocery store, you know what you are going for and you are not biased some tempting items you see that are not in your list, you have a goal and you work endlessly towards fulfilling those goals without distractions from the many factors are skills around you.
Define your visions and GET IT OUT! Okay you are a player now, you certainly have long term visions. Well? Get it out! Put it in play! Your brand cannot thrive in your room and media account. Go out there, do things, impress your fans and train to be what you long to be.
Work Smart, then work hard. It’s a known fact that you don’t have to be a jackal to be successful. Whilst hard work pays, being smart pays even better. Brand names like Ronaldinho De Assis of Brazil and Austin Jay Jay Okocha of Nigeria were mostly known for their dribbling skills. They weren’t exactly running around the field and doing daily push up to stay fit, they were simply smart, they knew what they were good at, put some energy to it and their fans were loving it, Something made you tell yourself you are a cricketer and that very item or skill is what will turn your career around because whence you have recognized you are a golden shell in the midst of number of similar colored eggs, you work on that hint and develop it to a point where it becomes your personality in the cricket game.
Create a personal media fan base. If you don’t manage your brand, the media and the less informed will manage it for you and you may not be pleased with the end result. This factor gives you the opportunity to go above the traditional media way and of interact with your growing number of fans personally and, like opposition parties in government, their honest and loving critics helps in remoulding a better YOU so you don’t sit and relax while you still have tons of work to do out there.
Stay true to your brand and don’t stop performing. There is no end point to careers even after retirement. You don’t want your brand to die when you cease to breathe. Let the visions you have created be up and running, you have an image you can never daunt, you have young people you are grooming to survive your name and position. Keep the hustle running and don’t stop performing, only good can come out of this gesture.
Do what the average cricketer doesn’t do. Remember that part where personal branding means standing out in a crowd, well, it’s not as easy as eating candy and chocolate bars. To stand out in an environment where waking up at a particular time is seen as a challenge, you have to up your regular routine and make a finer YOU. Something made the big wigs stand out, a certain professional culture, a certain principle, a certain mind-set. Go outside your comfort zone and take the hard bones while the rest of the players are taking the softer ones, hard work still pays. Most successful professional Kenyan runners will make your heart skip when they tell you how many hills they run every day and don’t stop even when breathing is becoming a challenge. Uniqueness in the sports arena is not something handed over to you from family, it’s something you harness and earn.
Know your idols. Even Micheal Jackson had a model he looked up to, he had looked up to James Brown before becoming a music god himself. Uniqueness doesn’t mean pride and being complete. Sometimes being unique might simply be an idea so unless you are Sir Don Bradman or the inventor of cricket game himself, visualize the boss of your destiny and work your arse off. Someone argued that if cricket is a game, it will certainly have many gods. This quote is in the sense that so many players with different skills have made their debut in the great game and you cannot be all at once, some players with certain brands matches your ideas of a better YOU tomorrow. Read exclusive interviews on those people, follow their media account, read about them and start by walking in their shoes. You can only do better than your idol when you get to the level he attained and do better than him so till you get to his level, take his exact steps.
BENEFITS OF PERSONAL BRANDING IN CRICKET
Like every other thing in life with Dos’ and Effects’, Personal branding in cricketing has a long list of advantages to the career of every player.
Having a brand helps define your career objectives. Fame is not made in the stadium and left at its mercy inside the walls of your pitch. Fame is made in the point of victory and watered to blossom outside the walls of your arena. Imagine winning a golden ball of the year and the moment you step out of the award hall you become an arse, that will be so lame, the silly award you got only got as far as the instant applause, recognition and the entitlements you got in the merit hall but a branded cricketer with objectives knows he has a lot of expectations to fill, he has many people looking up to him and expecting from him, he tries to fulfil all those objectives he branded himself with, like empowering upcoming cricketers, doing one project for your neighbourhood, you barely have time for yourself and that leaves the issue of becoming a stupid fellow outside your agenda.
It distinguishes you from your competitors and make you stand out among the rest cricketers. You are no longer one of the players playing for one of the teams, you are no longer ‘just the Kim Kardashian’ doing TV shows, you are the controversial Kim Kardashian brand behind it and everyday people Google your name on the internet. This exercise draws certain emotions and traffic to you as a person, you are now being identified with a certain quality. Personal Branding does that to you as a cricketer, brand yourself with something and survive even a dying career.
It also have a spiritual satisfaction and acknowledgment. Once you have set your objectives and start working nonstop towards those goals, you will no longer notice the competition around because then you have started getting contented with your achievements so far. This consolidates your belief in yourself and also help you in reaching out and attracting your desired fan and excel in your profession as a cricketer.
Personal Branding is your promise to your audience. It informs them on what to expect from you and this serves as a reminder to you that you can never get tired and stop working.
Personal branding throws you into the public square and allows you to be appreciated. The reward of any celebrity is acceptance. When you are branded, you have added some set of morals and obligations to your skills as a player and these qualities which you display in the public…. charity, donations, friendliness with fans, investments and good use of money, it all counts. This is like a magnet. Emotions are bought with actions, when you are pushing out these displays, you are drawing people’s interest in you as a person and there is no better way to score yourself as a public figure without people’s judgement. A bad behaviour or public display can kill your career, so many examples are googled daily on racial nollywood superstars whose beautiful careers went extinct because of one careless statement or attitude. When people love you as a person, they manufacture an excuse for your poor performance in the pitch even when you have not made a statement to defend yourself.
Personal Branding sometimes help in tuning and encouraging a dying career to not give up. The celebrated S Tendulkar is a human like us, he has his strength and weakness like everyone else not minding the fact that the entire human race expects nothing short of good representations from super stars always, it still doesn’t change the fact that they make mistakes like is. Imagine the same S Tendulkar evading tax and running into problems with the government, having some charges against him and maybe spending some time in jail and in the process becoming unpopular in the pitch because one good player already took his place and when he is finally out, his career starts taking some serious hits, it’s the brand he managed to create for himself in the rainy days that will salvage his reputation and guide him back to his feet. He had a brand, he had something to fall back to, and that, is called saving grace and good use of Tools of fame.
HOW PERSONAL BRANDING HELPS YOU STAY RELEVANT IN THE CRICKET GAME
When you have branded yourself, you are consequently being charged with high expectations and delivery. At this point you know there is no going back, you know you want to do better than your previous results and this keeps your relevance alive in the game. The south Korean born PSY sadly said after his Gangnam style hit topped charts in many countries that he fears he might not be able to break the history he made with that single again but nevertheless, he kept pushing his limits and with his sophomore debut, though less successful, kept him in the game. Keep your limits so high that you fear to dream about it.
Consistency. Like the PSY example i made above, he did not retire after his wonder hit because he has set a world record. He remained in the game and kept pushing it. You don’t relax after that wonder score you made. Keep the wheels rolling, there are so many records yet unset and also you don’t sit back and sulk because after so many years of working yourself to exhaustion point, you have yet to make headlines as a super star. Personal branding reminds you it’s no longer about scoring alone, that you have other brands to live for and represent.
A good brand attracts good people and endorsements. You are known for shouldering financial burdens of less privileged, it’s a brand and companies that wants to be seen in a similar sight as you, will make moves and put you on their pay rolls as an ambassador. Scandals and news are catalysts to celebrities surviving time and the daily influx of young talents in the industry. A good news such as endorsements will as well keep you on the front pages of daily news and updates, thus people will always for one reason or the other, talk about you and in a positive view.
Be aware of the consequences of defaming your brand. As relevance slowly slide away from you, you are jerked back to reality that in place of the applause you received after scoring or defending in a tournament, you are receiving backlash and judgments even when it’s not entirely your fault. You buckle up and try to improve, that in place of the love you got when you sponsored a local competition, you will receive hate tweets and messages and even death threats for stamping on someone’s right because he or she can’t win against you. You are guided and you try to do only the things that promote your reputation.
Personal branding helps you to define success in your own words and standards. It is no longer the public expectation from you, it can only be success in your own creation and heights. Success is what we define it to be in our very own expectations. You are only as high as you dare dream. Money is not entirely the long end dream of stars, it’s what the money can buy instead and you are only successful by your definition when you start affording those luxuries and life. It could be building a local stadium with your name, empowering some schemes, funding scholarships, personal life provisions. Success and goals as a cricketer may mean breaking records and setting new ones and nothing will stand in your way till you have completed those goals. It doesn’t come any better, you are as relevant as those projects are being given life.
Personal branding drills a certain level of discipline in your day to day activities. Personal branding is not necessarily a self-promo campaign that advertises you to the public, it defines who you are and who you hope to become, it gives promises to increasing number of fans and hints them what your upgraded version will be like when you are fully loaded. You are now living by your rules, and your rules can never go against ideas and principles that keeps you running and pushing to the top of your game. Your relevance is assured by this factor.
As a cricketer, having a brand is a defined way to connect your soul, skills, your future YOU and what you represent as a person to your audience and a very important step in moving your career to a whole new level.
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