Dwight Howard Marketing and Branding Mistakes, Can He Recover?
As the NBA Free Agency gets underway we suddenly see how players should conduct themselves as they move to new teams/cities, but we also see how player SHOULD NOT conduct themselves when they are ready to make a move.
The elephant in the room happens to be Dwight Howard as he has publicly drove the city of Orlando against him as well as fans all around the world. His statements and indecisiveness has made him appear not only fickle but a player who comes with baggage.
So the question is how does this hurt his Brandability?
Athletes must remember the minute they enter the NBA draft or even step foot on the Collegiate floor, they are suddenly a brand/business. Not only will their skills and abilities drive in revenue, but so will their brand/name. Tarnishing that name in any way can make organizations think twice in signing you to a contract or even businesses wanting to partner for an endorsement.
Protecting that brand from the start in critical as it can set the mark for the rest of their career. Many players in college have all the talent in the world, but forget that partying and flirting with the law cannot be apart of the playbook. They must steer away from the trouble and focus on the craft. In fact, if you look back at the history of NBA endorsements, the players that flourished are those that came straight out of High School to the NBA as they did not have the opportunity to tarnish their name in College. The NBA put a quick stop on players being able to declare to the NBA Draft out of High School, but this is more reason why players must protect their brand.
In the Case of Dwight Howard, he has presented himself as a unprofessional business man. Many reflect at the transition by Lebron James and say he went about the situation the wrong way, but in fact he did nothing wrong except make his announcement public and making it larger than life. Fans made his announcement a large scandal along with Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert, but unlike Dwight Howard, Lebron James did not make any public promises to stay in “X” city.
Dwight Howard on the other hand, has gone on record with Yahoo Sports as well as other news wires stating he wants to be traded, he only wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, he was black mailed by the Orlando Magic among other spastic unprofessional statements. These statements cannot be erased in the minds of Fans, GM’s, CEO’s, and current/future teammates.
From an outside perspective, many fans and analyst wonder why his camp or business manager are and why they have not stepped in. More so then ever, Dwight Howard needs his team to step up and make things better in the public eye.
The glaring question here is, Can Dwight Howard rebuild his image after the roller coaster year and a half?
The Answer is Yes, but this must be done strategically. Take a look at Tiger Woods and Michael Vick and you will see that an athlete with Top notch skill can recover their image with the right moves.
Steps to Rebuild Dwight Howard’s Image
- Take to Twitter and publicly apologize to fans and the Magic organization (Dwight Howard has not tweeted since April 20, 2012.)
- Tap back into what brought you millions of fans- Your goofy, lovable personality (Take pictures via Instagram and Twitter)
- Team up with Adidas on making a new commercial that highlights your career along with your love-able personality. (help remove the villian label)
- After the fans begin to gain acceptance, Make appearances in Orlando to give back to the community (i.e. Non-Profit Coffee Shop Credos is in need of a New Expresso maker and they have done amazing things through the community, Great Partnership)
- Release a Video of some impressive dunks you have worked on over the summer (reminding fans of your skill, not your statements)
At the end of the day, he has got to return to the Dwight Howard fans came to love 2 years ago. Fans have quickly forgotten he was the Slam Dunk Champion, The Premiere Center in the NBA, Sprite’s and Adidas Premiere Athlete, as well as the iconic Superman. Unfortunately, fans have a short memory and its time for the Dwight Howard to rebuild his fan base and credibility with GM’s and CEO’s.