By: Joe Cardoso and Marisa Cali
Earlier this month, I was asked by Marisa Cali, founder All The Social, to do a guest article for her blog that focuses on sports marketing and social media. a sports marketing and media company to do a guest blog for her site. Both topics although relevant to sports are not my forte. But, I love a challenge and I learned a lot in the process. Shoutout to Marisa for sparking the conversation and allowing me to explore topics that are at the forefront of our society when it comes to marketing. The result? Our newest series “Movers And Shakers” where we talk to some of the people who are making a mark in sports off the field. We are excited to share their knowledge and stories with our readers.Our first guest is in an industry that is taking the world by storm and in terms of athletics is as important as what cleats to wear. Introducing Frances Reimers principle of Firestarter. What is Firestarter you ask? It’s a company that specializes in advising small business and athletes develop, and manage their on PERSONAL brand. Who better to kick off this series than a person who is involved with one of the hottest topics. I want to thank Frances for her time and look forward to seeing what’s next for her!
JC: How did you get into brand consulting?
FR: I’ve worked in marketing and PR for more than 15 years. With the development of platforms like MySpace and Facebook, I became fascinated with how an individual can manipulate social media to their advantage and market themselves like a corporate brand. I used myself as a test case and became obsessed with figuring out what kinds of—and how much—content the average person would need to raise his or her overall visibility.
JC: Working with teams and athletes, has sports always been a passion of yours? How did it come about?
FR: I grew up in a family whose activities often centered around two things: sports and eating. The Super Bowl, especially the Denver Broncos’ multiple Super Bowl appearances, was always a big deal. I have fond memories of listening to my brother and grandfather talk about their sports betting, individual players, and sports strategy. My brother was an accomplished soccer and basketball star, so evenings and weekends were often spent supporting him. In college, I was fortunate enough to have opportunities to assist with athletic recruiting and outreach efforts. While I have no notable sports career to speak of, I’ve always been drawn to sports and athletes. I love the passion, the pageantry, and the business of sports. Despite my lack of athletic prowess, I am extremely competitive, so I feel a connection to players and their dedication to their craft.
JC: Why is controlling your personal brand important?
FR: We now live in an online world where Googling someone before meeting them has become an instinctive activity. Whether you’re an amateur, superstar, or anything in-between, it’s vital that you develop and control your own narrative. Otherwise, you’re leaving yourself at the mercy of how others want you to be known. This power has been shown to have an important impact on a person’s ability to obtain endorsements, negotiate better contracts, and strengthen his or her celebrity post-athletic career.
JC: At what point should a small business/athlete become concerned with their brand?
FR: As early as possible. Every business should be concerned with its brand even before it opens its doors. A business can’t control factors like the economy but certainly, can control its reputation and connection with its clients.
Regarding athletes, these young men and women are online as soon and as mom and dad give the green light. Thus, their brand is in motion and they need to be concerned about what they say and post—not just for the sake of their athletic career, but also for college admissions, and future internships.
JC: Is there such thing as too much social?
FR: Absolutely, there is such a thing as too much social. I think it’s important for us to remember to maintain our lives in the real world. We should be involved with people and events, not for what we can post online, but to enrich our own lives and help us build and strengthen our communities. I always advise clients to take a break from social and leave a little of their lives offline. The world doesn’t need to see each and everything thing a person does.
JC: What are two of the main challenges you have when advising athletes?
FR: The biggest challenge I face when working with my clients is getting them to understand the importance of having a personal brand strategy. Building a successful brand isn’t like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks. If you build your brand smartly, brick by brick, you’ll develop a stronger foundation that will benefit you in the long-run. Strategy takes time and careful consideration, something that a lot of people don’t have the patience for. If they dedicate their time (or hire someone like me to do it for them) they truly see a better long-term return on investment.
The second challenge is I have is getting clients and potential clients to understand that their personal brands deserve better than just shirtless selfies and motivational quotes. Remember, you are not your audience. For you to stay consistently at the top of the feed, your content needs to tell a story that changes and evolves and engages all your various audiences. Sometimes that’s shirtless selfies, but more often it’s content that shows you’re a multifaceted person who has more to offer than just your looks.
MC: With live video on the rise, do you find it challenging for athletes to stand out from the crowd?
FR: Live video is definitely an effective messaging tool. That said, most people jump into it with no real objective. Thus, many of these videos just become noise. Before creating and posting, you should think about what you’re trying to say/show and how that fits into your larger strategy. One off videos or videos without any real objective will become like a drop in the ocean.
MC: What’s one trend you see with millennial athletes that you think will be the next big thing in social?
FR: It’s already here, and augmented reality is big with millennials. With live video comes lens filtering – like Snapchat’s Selfie Lens or Masquerade, a tool that lets users record video-selfie animation. These filters are fun and are a great way to keep audiences engaged. That said, the personal brand challenge is making sure my clients are using these filters effectively and that they don’t become an annoyance/cliche.
Follow Frances on her social media accounts: