How Ronaldo, Messi and Co are using Social Media to boost their brand

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

When a brand engages a footballer they’ll usually be looking to fulfill one or more roles.

Typically, these might be a product launch, promotion, or brand ambassador, to name a few. Of equal importance will be the perceived fit: a combination of the geo-demographic appeal of the talent, product or service integration and cost.

Finally, and these are often underplayed, availability and desire need to be factored in.

Each major player, supported by a team of advisers, has become an expert in building their personal brand.

Social media has been a real catalyst for this of course, but the club they play for, the brands they partner, their interests off the pitch, and immediate family and friends all play a part in the brand that their fans buy into.

While social media has been a big part in this, TV remains the primary medium in which we engage with these players. Partnering with an individual is a leap of faith, and marketers are often uncomfortable with the concept.

In the case of something going wrong, there is no team, club or rights holder to deflect the negative publicity.It means putting all your eggs in one basket and that requires careful selection and a large degree of trust.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the archetypal modern footballer.

His phenomenal abilities on the field are matched by his marketability off it, and he has both the personality and physique that form the whole package that has brought global brands such as Pepsi and Tag Heuer to his door.

But Ronaldo’s global appeal has seen him sign a regional deal for Toyota in the GCC to name just one.

The point here is not that he has a particular relevance to those brands or indeed specific regions, but that he transcends culture, language and style and is instantly recognisable anywhere in the world.

Social media, particularly Twitter, has broken down the boundaries between athlete and fan.

Cost barriers in the form of ticketing or subscription TV have been replaced by a powerful one to one relationship that exists 24/7.

Our list reveals some interesting statistics, particularly for Messi, who does not directly tweet and has 2m followers and Ronaldo, who does, with 28m.

This marks the difference between two extraordinary football talents: one who is actively building his brand, and the other who would rather let his football do the talking.

Lionel Messi is very selective about his partnerships. They are genuinely hand selected, and all must make a contribution and/or play a role in his charitable foundation.

He would rather have a handful of genuine partnerships than over expose himself. This is reflected in his DBI score where trust has traditionally indexed high.

Four of the top ten are, or were part of the Spain squad who are reigning European and World Champions.

Clearly, success on the world stage offers a player the platform for recognition and following, but it's interesting to note that six players ply their trade in La Liga and only two, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres, currently play in the Premier League.

This might reflect the current strengths of the respective leagues, but also the growing TV viewership of La Liga globally.

Defenders rarely get the credit their talents deserve, and it’s genuinely a surprise that Pique makes this list.

The fact he plays for both FC Barcelona and Spain, who have enjoyed so much recent success, will have been a strong factor, but his off field activities, in particular his relationship with Shakira, and good looks must have had an equally strong influence in his case.

Pique demonstrates that marketability in a footballer is not purely based on sporting talent.

Iker Casillas and Andres Iniesta are proof that marketability does not lie solely in the superficial.

Both are loyal, one club men who have had enjoyed periods of success, but also overcome challenges.

As important to their own success has been the contribution they make to the team and their appearance on this list owes as much to their selflessness as their medals.

While Neymar’s relatively poor season for Barcelona means that he is probably further down the list than many would have predicted, his appeal to brands in this World Cup year is unquestionable.

The Samba idol already has an iconic status and he is the face of the 2014 World Cup.

That is why so many brands have been eager to sign him up to promote their products.

Rounding off the list are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry, two players who have a natural charisma.

Over the years both have scored spectacular goals and been a key part of championship winning teams, yet their dealings with the media is what has truly set them apart.

Ibrahimovic holds a unique position in the psyche of many football fans because of his actions and comments off the pitch.

This has helped grow his personal brand and made him instantly appealing to the marketing industry


Related Links

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting