Brand Building: Sink or Swim?

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has his own marketing guru. And why not? This record-shattering American hero is worth even more millions now than he was after Athens in 2004. The ethics of sports figures making zillions really isn't the point of this post, rather, it's the interesting take on the brand Michael Phelps as recently reported by The Associated Press.

The AP story reported that Phelps is expecting $100 million in endorsement money over his lifetime. Wow! So how does he make this happen in the reality of these three points:

1. Point one - the Olympics only come but once every four years.
2. Point two - swimming is not typically a sport that's in the mainstream like say... golf, baseball, basketball etc.
3. Point three - will he be swimming in 2012, or has he peaked?

These points are basically the challenges for the marketing guy. How does Michael Phelps capitalize on his current fame while spreading it out over the top brands, and make it last?

We all suffer from the same challenges as Michael Phelps. And although it's unlikely we'll see our businesses on 10 million Kelloggs cereal boxes, the basics are still the same:

1. Don't jump at every opportunity to advertise, not every one is right for your brand or your target.
2. Go beyond the superficial and the traditional when looking for chances to build your brand.
3. Take advantage of the latest trends, technology and buzz.
4. Get involved in activities that go deeper than just advertising, like charity and volunteer work.