When it comes to Serena Williams, we have a lot to learn from the worldwide known tennis player. And not everything is related to sport. Actually, she offers us some serious personal branding practices. But first, I invite you to watch the third episode of Branding Biz Club on my YouTube channel.
One of the things I love most about personal branding is that it allows us to immerse ourselves into fascinating domains. Just like sport. Because in order to fully understand Serena William’s delightful personal brand, we should be aware of some basic tennis-related concepts and news. The first one is the Grand Slam tournament, which consists of the four most important annual tennis events. To win the Grand Slam, you must win the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. All of them. Serena did this no less than 23 times. While we were filming the first episodes of Karina’s Branding Biz Club she only had 22 titles. Hopefully by the time we get to review her personal brand she will have surpassed Margaret Court, who currently possesses the all-time record of 24 titles. Go, Serena!
When it comes strictly to personal branding, a thorough analysis of Serena’s history, performances, gestures and public appearances helped us draw some conclusions regarding the most important things we can learn from her image.
Credibility – Serena proves us that being “permanently friendly” is not wrong at all. She is definitely a Mother Theresa for any PR, leaving little material for critics to dissect. However, our in-depth research revealed some juicy details which could have stabbed the tennis player’s reputation. And guess what saved her? Right! The credibility of her brand. Because she built loyalty through a highly family conscious image and a friendly reputation, her fans remained “on her side” and quickly moved past the rather incriminating incidents when she threatened a lineswoman (2009) and broke down on court (2014) possibly because she had been on drugs.
Consistency – Serena understood from the beginning that a personal brand is much more than an online strategy and an image created on social media networks. An authentic personal brand – just like Serena’s – cannot be self-created and it also consists of what other people give to you and your image. And most importantly, what you convey to your online public must be fully compatible with your real-life behaviour. So, except from the two isolated incidents named before, Serena does follow a seamless pattern which is mainly based on values such as family, love, education and equality.
Strategic vision – Serena is not just one of the best tennis players in the world, she is also a business woman. Did you know she has her own clothing line? It is called “Aneres”. She has also launched a signature collection of handbags and jewellery and she often partners with brands for limited editions of certain products (like the Glam Slam Series created with OPI). All these accomplishments seem to prepare a flourishing follow-up to her brilliant sport career. And this is not all! She has also been toying with the idea of television and has starred in numerous TV shows (including her own, plus “Drop Dead Diva” and “The Simpsons”). Could this be a prelude to a future acting career? Maybe, but one thing is for sure – Serena’s brand is characterized by a clever strategic vision because our favourite tennis players is always at least one step ahead.
The power of the mind – Serena has clearly distanced herself far above the other players and her mental fortitude plays a key role in this sense. She believes in herself and is aware of the fact that winning is much more in the mind than in the body. This self-confidence is the greatest thing that could happen to your personal brand. It is the source of becoming an inspiration to others. We create our reality with our minds.
Empathy – if you want your audience to fall in love with you, start empathizing! Take Serena’s example – while supporting her equality brand, she tries to speak the language of the country in which she plays. At the end of a match she spoke Italian. Maybe it was not a perfect Italian, but it was enough to earn the appreciation of the trophy presenter and the applause of the public. The effort alone from an American must have stunned everybody.
I hope these lessons will inspire you and empower you to create an impeccable personal brand. Should you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me or the members of my team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
On May 17, 2017