The world over, we've had some outstanding sports brands ( either personalities or teams, or even leagues)! On this list I would include such sports people as Michael Jordan, Pele, Tiger Woods,Williams sisters, Chicago Bulls (in the 1990s), Manchester United, NBA , UEFA Champions League. In Africa, they maybe few and far between but I'd quickly state; South Africa's Rugby team, Cameroon's national football team, Mozambique's Maria Mutola as the list narrows down.
In Kenya, do we have what we would call true Kenyan brands ?
Before we answer that question, let's look at what would qualify one to be a brand.
From Wikipedia.com, a brand is a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer. Another defition which might be more appropriate in our discussion identifies a brand " a unique and identifiable symbol, association, name or trademark which serves to differentiate competing products or services. Both a physical and emotional trigger to create a relationship between consumers and the product/service".
I will highlight a brief on Michael Jordan to give a preview of what a brand( name) could do and its effect on the person and figures too.
Michael Jordan!- one of sports most marketed and coveted sports figure in history. He was a basketball player from mid-80s, retired twice in the mid 1990s and after winning first '3-peat' in NBA Play-offs before making a comeback with the Washington Wizards in 2001.
His endorsements while active (and some still extend to this day) included MacDonalds, Chevrolet,Coca-Cola, Gatorade and most important Nike. At the height of his career, he was generating $40million worth of endorsements with Nike alone accounting for $17-18 million alone. In 1998, Fortune magazine estimated Michael Jordan's impact on the US ( and to some extent the world) economy at a whopping $10 billion.
In addition to that, during his playing days, he was able to make such a huge impact to the NBA, that they recorded some of the highest TV rights earnings which helped the League reach a wider global audience than anytime before.Even after his retirement, there have been instances where he has added his clout to the game influencing major decisions such as acquisition (but since relinquished) of Washington Wizards, endorsement of a US-manufactured vehicle among others. His profile is just too good to ignore and to sweet a marketer's delight !
Come back to Kenya. Do we have what it takes to reflect such effectiveness and enormity of a brand in sporting circles ?
I have done my quick ( not very conclusive & quantitative) analysis and come up with a few candidates for this. You're entitled to a comment (addition or subtraction) from the list;
1.Paul Tergat- Rating AA
2.Catherine Ndereba- AB
3.Conjestine Achieng- AB
4.Steve Tikolo- BA
7.Dunford brothers- BC
8.Dorcas Nandasaba/Janet Wanja-BC
Rugby Sevens National team
Cricket National team
Kenya Pipeline women's volleyball
Kenyan X-country team
There are also other upcoming athletes and sporting personalities that I would add to this list;
More on this in an article to be published soon....
Thus let's reflect on this critically and see what possibilities there are to using these sports people and teams to enhance our products (as private/public companies), awareness creation campaigns such as Keep Off Drugs etc, and even as our country's Goodwill Ambassadors. That way we will not only appreciate their efforts as individuals but also have them engage our youth in productive activities. It will show that sport can help make a living too.