Branding Yourself In The Sports Industry

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Ben is a graduate assistant in the marketing office of a mid-major Division I athletic department on the East Coast. His career goal is to work in college sports. He could see himself being a Division I athletic director someday. Ben’s advisor and professor, within his sports management master’s degree program, is a former college athletic director.

In tonight’s sports marketing class, Dr. Thomas (Dr. T) is discussing the issue of branding. While the lecture is geared toward the branding of a sports organization, the conversation turned towards the branding of an individual as the students are beginning to search for a job.

During the class discussion, Dr. T suggested that the students think deeply about their personal brand. He went on to mention that each student should have a personal branding strategy. Hungry to be the best he can be, Ben asked, “what is a brand, a personal branding strategy, and where can I find information on personal branding strategies in sports?”

A brand describes who you are and how you differentiate yourself from others in the industry. Your brand image is the perception of how people view you. Dr. T went on to say that specialization is probably the most important strategy you can have when trying to create your personal brand. By specializing in a particular area, you become an expert in that part of the industry.

Over time, specializing within a particular niche within the industry is the key to creating your brand. In other words, what will you be known for? What area within the industry are you an expert? Becoming an expert takes time, but you can begin to learn about a particular niche right away. Below are three steps you can take to begin branding yourself within your industry.

Join A Professional Association – One of the key elements to becoming known in any industry is to get to know the people within the profession. With this in mind, your next step in developing your personal brand is to identify and join the associations for your profession. By joining a professional association, you will have an opportunity to learn about the profession, have an opportunity to meet other colleagues within the profession, and be able to stay connected with these colleagues.

Be Aware Of Your Image – Your image is the perception that others have of you. It is a reflection of your activities, actions, and behaviors. Make sure that your lifestyle is congruent with the image you want for your brand. This holds true for both your personal and professional life. At some point your personal and professional life will become intertwined and become one in the same.

Develop Your Skills and Knowledge – According to the book Execute for Success, one of the key elements for achieving success in your career is to know the basic fundamental skills of your activity and to be able to perform these skills with great precision and accuracy.   So what are the skills that are associated with your industry? Indentify these skills and create a development plan for how you will become an expert in these areas.

In the end, Dr. T recommended that if the students are serious about working in the sports industry, they should brand themselves as experts in their area of specialization. He also answered Ben’s question about where he could find information about branding himself within the sports world. Dr. T. recommended the book “Getting Hired in College Sports.”


Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at or his new book Execute for Success at


Helping You Get A Job In Sports

2nd edition Image

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Only $23.95 Click Here To Purchase 

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University




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