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Sami Afuni 5053734

Athlete Brand
Management Analysis

Sami Afuni 5053734


 Introduction

 Athlete Situational Analysis

 Athlete Brand Analysis

 Athlete Brand Management Recommendations

 Conclusion

 References
Sami Afuni 5053734


When it comes to athlete brand management, there are different stages in an

athlete’s career that have to be considered. Some athletes may be in the midst of
high performance, others may be approaching the end of their career, but with
this analysis, it will focus on an aspiring young athlete, Lara Walker. Lara is a
young athlete born on the 19th of September 2003. (ITFtennis, 2018) She is one
of the most promising female tennis players in Australia tipped to become one of
the world’s premier players. (M5, 2018) This analysis will look at Lara’s current
situation, her current brand positioning and will look at recommendations for
her brand management.


In Lara’s current situation, she is at the developmental stage of her Athletic

career being at the age of 16. She faces the challenge of transitioning from junior
level competitions into senior and even professional levels. (Reading 1) It’s
natural for an athlete to be at the top of the chain when at a junior level but then
once they face that transition they find themselves falling down the pecking
order in terms of athletic prowess and achievement. Competition is not the only
thing to take into consideration when making the transition. Young athletes like
Lara will have to develop at an athletic level, psychological level, psychosocial
level and academic level. (Reading 1) When looking at it from a psychological
viewpoint, Lara is currently going through her adolescence. Adolescence can be a
difficult time period as it is the “no man’s land” between childhood and
adulthood. However this can be a pivotal stage in an athlete’s future success as it
allows the adolescents to find themselves mentally. This can be both a positive
and negative situation. (Counseling connection, 2018) Lara will need the support
around her in this vital time in her life, and she can find that on a psychosocial
level through peers, coaches, and family. It is important for an athlete to be
morally grounded and have the right energy around them especially at a young
age. With such, comes Lara’s academic level, which is secondary education. It is
always important for an athlete to have some sort of education as an athletes
career can be ended at any moment. Young athletes like Lara who transition into
senior ranks usually experience a career high injury rate. (Australian Sports
Comission, 2003) This again back the idea of the importance of having an
education. There are many environmental factors that may impact Lara’s career
such as the popularity and reach of tennis and the amount of commercial appeal
it has. Since 2000, the number of registered tennis players in Australia has fallen
by about 40 percent. (Holden, 2018) When looking at the commercial reality,
many tennis courts are disappearing around the country. This proves a loss of
interest in the sport of tennis in recent time in Australia. This can have a massive
effect on Lara’s career as facilities in Australia are dying down. (Holden, 2018)
Sami Afuni 5053734


An athlete brand is looked at as a name or design or even a symbol that

represents the athlete and is used to differentiate them from competition.
(Reading 2) There is a difference when it comes to brand identity and brand
imagine. Brand identity is the foundations that a brand was built upon internally
from the athlete’s point of view. Brand image is what is perceived from an
external point of view for example from fans or other competitors. Lara is at a
very early stage in her brand development. She has not yet figured out her
identity and with that there isn’t a brand image from an outside point of view.
When Lara eventually develops it further, it will be important to consider what
kinds of brand associations may help in developing her brand. Lara is currently
in a position where she is developing her brand through her on field attribute.
(Reading 2) This means that she is developing her brand status based on her
excellence on the court. Success is usually the most important creator of brand
associations and brand equity over time. Other things that are considered at the
moment are her off field characteristics. This comes outside the realms of sport
competitions or products. Is her lifestyle marketable? Is she someone people can
relate to? There are already many things that tick the boxes from a brand point
of view when looking at Lara. First and foremost her on field success has been
outstanding especially being dubbed one of the most promising upcoming
athletes. Her work ethic is 2nd to none training 15 hours per week to practice her
techniques in order to prepare for massive tournaments. (Garcia, 2018)
Throughout all her success at a young age, she continues to focus on her
education and looks to complete year 11 and 12. She has a fantastic attitude,
which caught the eye when she was noted saying “I’m just taking it one game at a
time and not really thinking too far ahead”. (Garcia, 2018) Athlete appearance is
another factor to look at in terms of branding and may come into effect later on
in her career. Lara is currently signed to M5 management however does not have
any sponsorship deals yet.
Sami Afuni 5053734

Here is a SWOT analysis to look at Lara’s current brand positioning


- High Performance – Lara is one - No Social Media identity – Lara

of the most promising young is yet to have a social media
female tennis players in the identity with no trace of her on
country. Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.
- Player conduct – Lara has a
fantastic attitude and presents - Not very well known – Lara is
herself in a wonderful manner. not yet well know around the
- Potential - Lara is dubbed to country.
be one of the biggest talents to
come out of Australia.
- Work Ethic – Lara puts in the - No Associations – Lara is yet to
work needed to achieve her have any associations.
- Education – Lara continues to - No Sponsors – Lara is yet to
go to school even through her have a sponsorship deal
- Support System – Lara has a
wonderful support system
around her.


- Sponsorship deals – Through - Competition – Other players

Lara’s high performance she could overtake Lara and effect
will attract sponsor deals. her success.

- Creating a social media - Player misconduct – With Lara

platform – Lara can focus on being at a young age, she is yet
building a platform for herself to fully mature, she could break
via social media out at anytime.

- Lack of facilities – This could

- High chance of future success – effect her growth
With her potential, Lara has a
high chance of reaching
Sami Afuni 5053734


When looking at Lara’s brand management, one thing that pops out
significantly is the lack of activity on social media from Lara’s end. Digital Media
and marketing is one of the biggest influencers when it comes to athlete brand.
(Reading 3) There are many platforms that Lara can use to build her brand
digitally such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snap chat and Instagram. Many
things can be show throughout these platforms whether that’s consistently
posting images and keeping people updated with her achievements and
competitions, or even expressing her emotions on certain topics on a platform
such as Twitter. Lara can offer a lot of value to sponsors. First and foremost, she
competes at a very high level of competition and has bags of potential ahead of
her. At any moment in time it could click with Lara and she could become the
biggest female star in the country. Potential sponsors could benefit massively
from such a jump. Another reason is that she conducts herself in a respectable
manner, and is at low risk meaning she wouldn’t be in the midst of controversy.
She has consistently been winning trophies at a youth level and has numerous
pictures of her holding trophies up, so that in its self should be a massive value to
potential sponsors. Lara has all the qualities to be a massive asset for any
sponsor. She has values, work ethic and is not afraid to achieve and “Just do it”. A
potential sponsor for Lara that would align perfectly with her is one that goes by
the quote of “Just do it” and that is Nike. First and foremost Nike’s values fit
perfectly with Lara as she is hard working and ambitious. Nike would also have a
low risk, high reward as she is not a very well known player, so financially they
wouldn’t have to supply much. However she does always compete at a high level
and is tipped to be the next big thing so they could use her as the next big story.


This athlete brand management analysis looked at Lara Walker’s rise as an

aspiring young tennis player. Her current athlete situation was looked at, as well
as an analysis of her brand and recommendations were made towards the
management of the brand. All in all, Lara Walker would be a pleasure to work
with for any potential sponsors out there. The SWOT analysis proved that with
the minimal amount of negative connotations that surround her. She has a
fantastic future ahead of her and there is no doubt that soon we will be hearing
her name more than we already are.
Sami Afuni 5053734


Itftennis.com. (2018). [online] Available at:


Anon, (2018). Lara Walker. [online] Available at: https://www.m5management.com.au/lara-


Counsellingconnection.com. (2018). Challenges of Adolescence | Counselling Connection.

[online] Available at: https://www.counsellingconnection.com/index.php/2010/02/11/biological-

Holden, D. (2018). Why tennis is struggling for players. [online] The Roar. Available at:

Garcia, J. (2018). Tennis player Lara Walker wins two tournaments in New Caledonia. [online]
Redland City Bulletin. Available at:


Reading 1:


Reading 2:


Reading 3: