The online buzz this week centered around David Beckham and his apparent fading brand image. The David Beckham brand reigned supreme while Beckham dominated in Europe. Despite his strength on the U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) playing field, his brand has dimmed a bit since his Los Angeles Galaxy jersey became a regular sight in U.S. stadiums.
The online buzz is suggesting the David Beckham brand has lost some of its star power because Beckham moved from being a big fish in a little pond to become a medium-sized fish in a big pond in the U.S. I’m not convinced that’s the problem. Truth be told, I’m not sure if the David Beckham brand has a problem at all, but since that’s the buzz, I’m going to address it from a marketing perspective.
It’s possible that the David Beckham brand oversaturated the market. While in Europe, David Beckham seemed elusive and slightly untouchable. It was the brand everyone wants but just can’t afford or get. His marriage to another celebrity, Victoria Beckham, led his brand to become more visible on the market. When the couple moved their family to the U.S. the David Beckham brand began to appear everywhere. From celebrity endorsements and appearances to celebrity gossip columns and more, the once intangible brand now became not just commonplace but overbearing.
A challenge every brand faces is walking the thin line between building your brand and oversaturating the market with it. While consumers certainly haven’t turned their backs on the David Beckham brand, it has lost some of its allure. The same could be said of other celebrity athlete brands such as Lance Armstrong who as a Tour de France champion didn’t dominate the media, but as Sheryl Crow’s boyfriend and buddy to celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey, his brand became far easier to access and thus, less mysterious and interesting.
Of course, the media could be blamed for disinterest in celebrity brands, but marketers can still learn an important lesson from them. Be cognizant of the negative ramifications that oversaturating the market with your brand can have, and while publicity is good, too much PR or the wrong kind of PR can damage your brand. Grow your brand strategically, but don’t risk your overall brand image through the wrong kind of growth. Remember, not all growth is good growth.
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