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Attorney: Athletes can earn a lot with marketing guidance

Published:Saturday | August 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Usain Bolt


Attorney-at-law and trademark expert Andrea Scarlett-Lozer says the sterling performances by Jamaican athletes at the recent World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia, can propel them to massive international success, if they are given the right marketing and branding guidance.

Scarlett-Lozer's comments come a few weeks after minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, indicated at a JIS 'Think Tank', that the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is working closely with athletes to guide them on how to protect their personal brands.

In an interview with JIS News following the conclusion of the World Championships, Scarlett-Lozer, of the law firm Myers, Fletcher and Gordon, said that registering trademarks to protect current and future earnings was something that athletes and their management teams need to comprehensively understand.

Using Usain Bolt's successes on and off the track as an example, she noted that in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, the world sprinter mesmerised the world with his stellar performance on the track and with his exuberant personality.

"His 'Lightening Bolt' trademark became a global phenomenon, which assisted in catapulting the brand Usain Bolt on a global spectrum and significantly increased the value of his personal brand," she said.

She added that it was important that athletes brand themselves in an authentic way as there are various markets from which they can benefit.

"Last year 90 per cent of Usain Bolt's income came from endorsements. If other athletes who are doing well employ the same strategies as those used by corporate brands, they can easily increase their earnings off the track," Scarlett-Lozer said.

President of the MVP Track Club, Bruce James, told JIS News that his club has already taken measures to protect and promote the personal brands of their athletes.

"There are two basic steps: one, we will reserve a URL in their name on the Internet and two, we would go to Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and have their names and other matters related to their personality registered there," James said.

Identify with positives

He also added that for brand-building purposes, it is important that athletes identify with positives as opposed to being controversial or negative.

Meanwhile, Scarlett-Lozer said that two-time Olympic 100-metre gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also made a huge branding statement at the recently concluded World Athletics Championships, with her bright pink/red hair, pink nails and pink shoes on the track. She pointed out that Fraser-Pryce, who operates a hair business, could well be positioning herself to advertise beauty products.

"In Moscow, Shelly was wearing red/pink hair. She is building that into the image that she projects to the world and could well be setting up herself to advertise beauty products," Scarlett- Lozer explained.