Sports stakeholders need to stop lamenting about the perceived lack of sport sponsorship from corporate T&T.
In difficult economic conditions, the business community will pay closer attention to expenditure outlay in their focus to stay in business and to stay relevant.
Winning a medal in and of itself isn't an automatic key to sponsorship nirvana. It takes more than winning a medal to motivate clear-sighted business people to pull out their cheque books.
The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the T&T Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) would have hosted a number of athlete-focused workshops aimed at informing, advising and creating awareness among Team T&T athletes about the importance of their personal brand and the impact their brand will have, positive or negative, in respect of gaining sponsors. These workshops are intended to help athletes get sponsored.
It is, however, important to note that Team TTO athletes must embrace the notion that sponsors will not jump simply because you have won something. In their very informative book "The Athlete Brand", Vickie Saunders and Charlotte Woods, provides a guide for all types of athletes, on how to build and benefit from their brand. The authors pointed out that whether they know it or not athletes have a brand and as such its important the athletes are in control of what their brand looks like.
How to identify, communicate and leverage on your brand are important brand-building basics to have.
According to Saunders and Woods athletes, who have had a real struggle, have made significant breakthroughs on their brand and sponsorship journey by taking brand building seriously.
What is an athlete brand?
An athlete brand is the communication of an athletes uniqueness: their story, their style, their interests and beliefs, their behaviours and values along with their athletic endeavours.
Saunders and Woods believe that when athletes know their brand, amazing things happen. The question is how do we get the T&T sports sector to carry positive messages to corporate T&T instead of only lamenting.
Sport stakeholders who know their brand are said to be confident, excellent to work with because they take the time to understand what they value, what they need and what they want their journey to look like. They have a clear vision statement. They carry a message.
It's time to stop blaming corporate T&T for the perceived woes. Time to stop lamenting and engage in some serious brand building.
Woods had this to say: "All athletes can have a powerful and impactful brand no matter how small their audience is".
It is never too early or too late to start building your brand.
Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and T&T Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the organisations.