I’ve watched with fascination the trend of professional athletes seizing their personal brands and taking control of their own marketing by utilizing all the communication tools the Internet has to offer.
No one does it better than CincinattiÂ Bengals star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
The foundation of Ochocinco’s success is his charismatic, endearing personality. He’s got the unique ability to talk trash without offending anyone; his expensive on-field celebrations are fun, harmless and done with malice toward none. Plus, he’s a remarkable athlete who can back up his boasts with game-day performances.
Ochocinco understands that football fans are fascinated not only with an NFL player’s athletic performance but also with the life of a professional football player. He’s willing to open up his life to give his fans a glimpse of his life from his point of view.
Practically every pro athlete now has a Web site but they are typically brochure sites that have been created with a little input from the athlete and then are maintained by someone else; pretty much hands-off. Â Ochocinco’s Web site (Ochocinco.com), in addition to the Bio, Media Gallery, and Store that you’ll find at any pro athlete’s site, serves as a hub to his social media presence.
His Twitter feed is branded as The Ocho Cinco News Network from which he has promised to break NFL news. Â At Twitter he posts thoughts (e.g. “Grandma just called and we talked for a while, at the end before we hung up she said go get em TIGER<–should I be offended“), converses, and organizes tweet-ups or asks fans for help.
A recent example of the latter was his request for someone to give him a ride to the Mall of America while in town to play the Vikings.
His Facebook page is a flurry of activity, with fans regularly commenting and his Ustream video is a reality show of his life:
By creating a direct connection with his fans and amassing his own personal network, Ochocinco creates demonstrable value to potential sponsors and establishes a personal platform that will exist beyond his NFL career.