Part 1: Branding Basics
Written By: Missy Mitchell-McBeth, MSEd, SCCC, CSCS, USAW
A few weeks ago, our sales team at Power Lift was in a meeting with a coach. Towards the end of the meeting, it came up that I was speaking at an upcoming conference on the topic of building a brand. The coach’s immediate response …
“That’s such an important topic. Why is it that as an industry we don’t feature great coaches just showing up to work and doing their job? Instead, we focus on these clowns on social media and it makes our industry worse.”
I couldn’t agree more.
However, like it or not, some of these clowns on social have a brand and that brand gives them a voice. Quite often the strength and conditioning industry is judged by the loudest, (and sometimes the dumbest) voices on social media rather than quality coaching.
So, in this post, I want to focus on how you, a highly qualified sports performance professional, can build a brand you’ll be proud of and one that makes the industry better.
What is a Brand?
First, let’s clarify what a brand is not:
● a logo
● a product
● a color scheme
● a slogan
Can these things aid with brand recognition? Of course! But they aren’t a brand.
A brand, according to branding expert Marty Neuemier, is simply defined as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.”
It’s about perception.
Ultimately, your brand is your reputation, and whether you like it or not it is defined by other people.
You can’t control this, but you can certainly influence it.
Ask yourself: what do you want people to think and feel about you?
Answering this question can help your brand identity to take shape, which we will discuss further in Part 2.
Why Should You Brand?
Let me start by offering reasons why you shouldn’t brand.
#1 You lack a resume on which to build a brand.
It really is this simple: if you’re prioritizing branding or self-promotion over your development as a coach, particularly in the early stages of your career, you’ve got your priorities wrong. While you might indeed be building a brand, it may not, however, be a brand that you want.
Focus first on building expertise before attempting to convey you have it.
With that out of the way, let’s revisit the section header: why should you brand?
Because, according to business author Dan Schawbel: “branding serves as your best protection against business factors you can’t control.”
Put your hand in the air if you’re a strength coach who got fired because your team had a losing season and you’re the easiest scapegoat!
We work in a volatile industry. Multi-year contracts are rare and tomorrow is not promised.
Having a personal brand could potentially be a lifeboat to your next position. Using that personal brand to generate revenue on the side can help safeguard you financially in the event of being shown the door by your current employer.
Even if this never happens, your needs and wants from a personal and professional standpoint will likely change over time. This may mean pursuing a new job or even a new career. A brand can help create these new opportunities because it clearly defines your value and expertise for others. Instead of being one of 50 applicants in a pile of resumes, you may instead find yourself recruited for a position. This may result in a position for which you are a better fit since the hiring party already knows what you are about and believes you could potentially be of value to them.
Or, your brand could result in your ability to become your own employer.
Ultimately with a strategic personal or business brand: it is better to have and not need, than need and not have.
But before rushing out to start building your brand, there are some things you need to consider.
Part 2, to be published in the coming weeks, will focus on the best and most reliable way to build your brand in the coaching industry.
"As a professional cycling team we have athletes based all over the world, and at times we don’t see them in person for several weeks during the season or months during the off season, and even longer in the current climate. The Lumin Arc platform and Phila app allow us to simplify and centralise both qualitative and quantitative data on the athletes and is a valuable tool for us both for helping with team selection decisions, but also for general monitoring of the athletes health and well being."
"Lumin's Arc platform is a game changer in professional cycling. Arc has given our team real insights into the athlete’s performance and how they are feeling and training every day. This has and will continue to improve our decision making in a globally disparate team."
"We are a sport and a team with such a diverse work force which is geographically dispersed. Keeping in touch with each other is critical , every day that a rider is not able to train is a day lost to the team and to the rider. Technology and the partnership with Lumin has enabled us to be more connected than ever in a meaningful and relevant way, keeping us on the road."
"I can comfortably say that Lumin has saved us well over 40% in time spent collecting and preparing data, meaning we can spend more time putting the data to use."
“I am able to see all of my data in real time combined into the one system. Everything from my wellness to my performance data on one system is incredibly powerful. I’m able to connect all of my data to my coaches, performance staff and the people allowing me to be at my best. I’m able to integrate my 3rd party hardware and it will upload instantly to the Arc platform for instant analysis. As an athlete we often are asked to use a variety of different tools to monitor all of our performance metrics, With the Arc Mobile and Arc platforms this now consolidates this monitoring and data collection to very few seamless steps, allowing me to concentrate on racing and performing at my best."
"The Arc and Phila platforms have provided us with the ability to understand and monitor our group more in depth, while reducing our admin time with the data analysis perspective, giving us more time for what matters, developing our players on the field."
"The interactive, user-friendly nature of the platform helps to sort through large data sets to find the relevant information. With around 25-30% reduction in work-force across the league as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to maintain the same level of analysis across the 2021 season through the Arc platform."
"Since using Arc by Lumin Sports, we, as a high performance football team have been able to consolidate a-lot of our existing data storage and analysis platforms so that we can now use one central platform throughout the department. Seamless integrations with real time visuals has been at the forefront of my work and where I see the most benefit and potential from the Arc platform from my point of view."