Sports is all about fans and their passion for their favourite athlete or team. Sporting teams spend hoards of money in sending the right signals to fans and potential fans through branding. Well, that’s how they get their money to sustain their teams and players in the long haul. So is the case with big and aspiring sports stars. They hire the best marketing teams to help create a brand out of them. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a 7-step approach to help teams and athletes to look into the nitty-gritty of creating top-class brand identity

Sports are all about craze and that’s exactly what the sports industry banks on to draw more and more viewers. It is no small business and it means millions of moolah for the organisers and the players. Big-ticket games spell money with every ‘ball’ or ‘goal’.
The sporting event could vary, but the craze for the chosen sport remains the same. Be it football, cricket, tennis, basketball or even sports like boxing and WWF, the fan following is insane and there is an emotional connect with the teams and their players.
It is exactly for this reason that branding acquires importance and sporting teams try to reach out to their fan clubs in various different ways and through various media. With the explosion of social media, sporting brands have to customise and deliver the same message across various media. While the presentation could be different, the message is consistent and highly target oriented.
Recently, Abhishek Bachchan owned Pink Panthers did a documentary for NetFlix, and this is one example of branding and creating an emotion around the team and its players. While Kabaddi league is now extremely popular, Indians die for cricket. So, it is hardly surprising that various brands use cricketers to endorse their brands. This works both ways as the audiences identify their sports stars with a brand and this in turn works in increasing the brand image of the player.
In line with the popularity of football league, India’s cricket league has enticed audiences world over and the sporting event is watched even in countries that were not known for their love of cricket. Similarly, in recent times, thanks to study and work travelling, people around the world are exposed to various games and sports that they were oblivious to in the past, making the task of sporting brands trickier. Now, they have to work extra hard to retain their audiences and give them new experiences with every sporting event.
Of course, the strategy varies with the primary goal. Are you a new brand trying to acquire global identity or are you an established brand, trying to rejuvenate itself in keeping with changes in technology and media.

The need for sports branding:

■ Why branding in the first place: You could be a popular sports team or a world-class professional athlete, you will still need a strong brand identity for fans to rally around you. It’s the right ‘brand’ that sets one apart from the others and also showcases what one stands for in the sports industry. This is crucial as this makes one stand out and recognised amidst competitors. Well, on the face of it, branding in simple terms could look like a branding logo and colour scheme. But developing a strong marketing strategy and solid branding is indispensable to sustain oneself and remain in the race in the long run.
■ An established brand equals trust: A brand is more than just a mascot for sporting teams or athletes. It’s more of an identity or representation of what the team or sports person stands for. It’s pretty obvious that the brand gets used on everything including merchandise to websites. Hence the need for consistency. People instantly know what one stands for and this pushes them to support the causes you stand for. This is how you build trust with your fans and supporters. Also, branding helps the fans and supporters to instantly identify their favourite teams and stars. When the brand is consistently displayed online, on social media and on merchandise, the fans will immediately know the real material from rip-offs. This ultimately means money in your pocket.
■ Improves recognition in the community: Goes without saying, the best athlete brands are instantly recognizable. Let’s take the example of top athletes like Rafa Nadal or Leonel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or Virat Kohli. The moment you see them or a picture, you instantly think of their branding logo or their team colours. This is because they have established a brand that’s persuasive in the community. The more the people recognise the brand, the easier it will be for brand to grow their following and fan base.
■ It gets easier to secure sponsorships: Without sounding outrageous, the bread and butter of branding and sports marketing is in getting sponsorships from major investors and companies. Think sporting brands like Nike, Adidas, Ferrari, etc. This is how the sports industry thrives by getting sustainable income, apart from games and performances. Sponsors look out for athletes and sporting teams that can promote their products and business. Athletes or sporting teams that are new in business do not have the same traction in the market as well-established brands do. Simply put, the newcomers or newbies do not have strong enough sense of self as a brand to represent another company successfully.
Similarly, it’s a totally different story or reach when it comes to fully developed sports brands. Hence, by investing in professional brand design or logo design, the team or athlete increase their chances of getting long-term sponsorship.
■ Helps in streamlining advertising efforts: One could be a top athlete or a top sporting team brand, they still need regular advertising to promote events, games and meet and greets. Without a developed brand, it’s tough to create advertisements that speak to your target audience.

Creating a good and firm brand in sports is the easiest way to make advertising effective and simple. On the other hand, if one is not sure of who they are and what they promote, the audiences too wouldn’t pay attention to what you are promoting. Through branding, one will have a logo, colours, name and a personality that speaks to what a team or athlete stands for.
It also makes things easier for you if you are an established brand, as you can concentrate on promoting events instead of acquainting yourself with the audience. Rest assured your brand is out there and people already recognise it. All you need to focus on is to increase awareness through promotions.

To get started:

a) Get professional assistance: Once you have a clear idea as to what you want to share with the world with regards to yourself or your team, it becomes pertinent that the nitty-gritty details are taken care of. This means coming up with a logo design and a voice that is consistent across channels. Well, one can go about doing it on their own. But since big sports mean big money, it is always better to get the help of an industry pro. It is wise to hire a sports branding team and let them do their job. They will distil things into a cohesive campaign through which you can present yourself to the world. As mentioned time and again, this will help in maintaining consistency and makes it easier for you to present your brand across multiple channels.
b) Today is the best time to begin: Branding in sports is key to making sure you are as successful as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a single athlete or a sports team, your brand is your voice and the more identifiable it is, the better off you will be.
So, set yourself up for consultation and get professional help to capture your personality and your values. They will turn them into something that communicates who you are to your fans and potential sponsors.

An athlete or sports team could be local or targeted at the national, world audience. Or it could be a high-end brand looking to reinvest itself, years after the initial launch. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a well-thought out plan of action for your branding and rebranding:

For good business growth and future prospects, astro strategist Hirav Shah says it is important to have the necessary ‘luck’ in the personal chart of an individual. However, apart from that, there are a variety of factors that push forth ‘luck’ in business. The name of the business, its logo, the partner’s luck, etc, all determine the success of a business, he shares.

Hirav Shah insists that whatever hard work one puts in or whatever talents one uses to put in smart work by strategizing and implementing those strategies in terms of advertising, marketing, sales, HR, production or service… things have to move smoothly and seamlessly.

According to astro strategist Hirav Shah, that is called the ‘luck’ of the company. So, if the structure of the company or organisation is proper, it helps in utilizing your potential and growth in a productive and positive manner.

Simply ponder

How does food taste without spices?
How does one feel without the right tools to fix something?
How can a footballer get a goal with ill-fitting shoes?

Similarly, in business, if the structure of the organization is great (ie, business name, great partners, correct registered and administrative address, logo, web-print-digital presence, brand name, etc), by seeking the help of an astro strategist, a business can make and execute decisions within a perfectly timed framework to maximise success.

Here are the 7 factors that astro strategist Hirav Shah considers before giving a road map for branding and rebranding

1. Name of the organisation: What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to branding, it’s all in the name. Astro strategist Hirav Shah will help you name your organisation or brand or product in sync with numerological and astrological calculations. Look at brands like Manchester United, Chelsea, or more Mumbai Indians, Chennai Superkings, etc – they bring out ads or social media inputs that directly target buyers almost on a regular basis. During the season, they could bring out promotional material every single day. They reach out to customers through various platforms, but the message is unique and consistent.
2. Correct partners: Checking the compatibility, strengths and weaknesses of all partners and administrators is crucial as one weak campaign can mean loss of valuable customers for travel sites, which operate amidst high competition and highly segmented markets.
3. Percentage of shares of all partners: Hirav Shah ensures that each partner share is correctly balanced, so there are no disputes or disagreements in the long run.
4. Registered address and administrative address: They should be astrologically compatible with the name of the organization and key people in the company.
5. Logo of the organisation: We have already seen how important the logo of a sports team or athlete is in the case of various brands like Manchester United, Chelsea, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, etc. Hirav Shah helps you create and finalize the right logo that reflects your values and attracts the right kind of energy.
6. Web, print and digital presence: In today’s world, where one needs to be seen and heard on various media platforms, Hirav Shah ensures that your digital, print and marketing collaterals are aligned and in harmony with your brand’s purpose and vision.
7. Brand: Last, but surely not the least, astro strategist Hirav Shah makes sure that your brand assets are auspicious for the company and have a positive impact on team morale.