Frances
Donner

Brand Audit for Pro Athlete Josh Heard

How Brand Strategist Stevie improved the quality of his service for his customer Josh by teaming up with me, as research was "not [his] biggest strength".
Client
Stephen "Stevie" Ewashko
Personal Brand Strategist, specialized in working with soccer players
Customer
Joshua David "Josh" Heard
Professional Soccer Player, PFC, Canadian Premier League
Market Researcher
Frances Donner
Me, the happy human, who is taking you on this journey

Client & Customer Background

Stevie & I met for a networking call & figured out that we have a lot in common:

  • Personal brand strategists
  • Niched in the sports sector
  • Here for the humans, community & collaborations
  • Following the 5P Framework from Anneli Hansson
  • Coached by the Futur
  • I could go on and end by the same glasses we are wearing.

We were talking about our strengths & potential to grow, as we identified that my research skills are scored higher than Stevies & that we can fill that gap by teaming up.

Perfect timing, 'cause Stevie was about to start the work with professional soccer player Josh the day after. Not losing any time here.

With the information Stevie had to date, I went back & developed 9 possible research offers that would increase the quality of Stevie's work and add extra value for Josh, while for me, it was my very first research-collab-deal. 🙌

Call it a WIN WIN WIN!

With Josh, there was only indirect contact while I was visiting Josh on his social media channels, as the researcher given to this project.

Josh was informed about me joining the team & project to have him on board and not wandering who that German Lady is' who is spooking around lately.

Stevie and I are riding the same wave regarding transparency and honesty. For us, this was our way of doing collaborating values compatible

I reached out to Josh after I handed over my research report to Stevie, to say thanks, share my appreciation, leave a cheering vibe & gather his feedback.

"I have always wanted to outsource the research phase of my workshop, because it is not my biggest strength in the brand strategy process. When I learned that this was a strength of Frances', and she was offering her research services, I was more than happy to up my game with her skills!!

My goal was to improve the quality of my services, but also to have more time to focus on my clients needs. Knowing that a crucial component, the research, would be handled to the same standard I have for my work."
Stephen "Stevie" Ewashko
Personal Brand Strategist for Soccer Player

Objectives

The primary goal of this collaborative project was to conduct a 'brand perception study' of Josh to understand how he perceives himself and how the public, including fans and media, perceive him.

The focus was on finding areas of alignment and divergence. The ultimate aim was delivering detailed and easy to further process insights that Stevie could use to formulate an effective brand strategy that resonates with Josh's true identity & appeals to his defined target audience.

Together we were aiming to help align Josh's personal brand with his goals, both on & off the pitch.

Challenges before our Collaboration

It was an important project for Stevie, as Josh was his very first ideal client, after repositioning his business, thinkpostur. A lot was on stake, as Stevie wasn't sure anymore if being a strategist was what he was meant to be after feeling unsatisfied in previous projects with other clients from different fields. But working with soccer player lightens the fire again, as he is a former pro player himself.

Beside the previous named objectives, my goal was to give Stevie back self-confidence as a strategist by taking away what he doesn't feel so super strong about. I am convinced of his abilities & skills as a strategist and can't let self-doubt deceive him, weaken him and keep him from being there for others in that way.

Another challenge for Stevie, specially for the research part, was that Josh and Stevie have been friends for a long time. How to stay non-biased then?

Solution & Im­plemen­tation

Stevie & I decided to stay close during the whole project to make sure we stay on track and provide the best solution possible for Josh. Neither he nor I were experienced in such a collaboration, but we had a strong conviction that it will be great. We have worked out the process as in process and decided to adjust along the way if necessary.

While Stevie was the brand strategist in this project, I was responsible for the research component. We met a day after every meeting he had with Josh. To build up our collaboration and get to know the way we both work. This resulted in me additionally being a consultant on Stevies side in our warm-up phase.

The entire project was guided by the 5P Framework, a well-known methodology in brand strategy created by the Swedish brand strategist & business coach, Anneli Hansson, which Stevie utilizes in his work. So do I as I am educated & trained by Anneli to use the 5P Framework in my work with my clients.

After Stevies first meeting with Josh, Stevie shared with me what he has gathered so far. That helped me to select 3 of the 9 potential offers I prepared. We boiled it down together on the 'Brand Perception Study' to understand how Josh as a player is currently perceived in the public. We saw this as the suitable solution for rolling out the lawn for Josh as a personal brand.

The 2 remaining services turned into possible upsells for a later day:

  • Audience Insight Study
  • Sponsorship Opportunity Research

We agreed on cornerstones like timeline, budget & prioritizing value for the client, while remaining cost-effective & time efficient. Therefore, I used secondary research methods for my service - gathering & analyzing existing data.

The day has come on which I got hands on as the researcher. That day we count as the official brief. I created a question form that Stevie filled out before. We met that happy day & had an in-depth interview to onboard me to understand Josh's self-perception & the groundwork Stevie & Josh had done so far.

Duration: 1,5 h

The timeframe was 1 (one) week. We scheduled a meeting for me to present the results to him for 7 days after our official kick-off & the day before his next meeting with Josh.
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Afterwards, I dove deep into Josh's world. Gathered more information about his self-perception, performed a public perception analysis and the analysis of his social media presence focusing on content, interaction with followers, and overall perception.
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I used and visited various sources such as social media platforms, social media profiles, fan pages, and media coverage. I reviewed articles about Josh & interviews featuring Josh to gather insights on his public image.
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On that note: Please raise your hands with me to Martin Baumann for his very well-structured, insightful, human centered and reader oriented interview he published in 2021. 🙌

After I had exhausted all sources, I dedicated myself to the data analysis. And I am meticulous there due to curiosity to uncover patterns, commonalities, and discrepancies. My aspiration was to proof or disproof statements, beliefs, sensations & intuitions on every point that stood out for Stevie & or me, during the previous project phase between Stevie & Josh.

Results & Benefits: Outcome

I provided all findings in a detailed & comprehensive 21-page research report, complete with visual aids for easy understanding & further process. The insights generated from the study are now being used to shape Josh's personal brand strategy to better align his self-perception with public perception.

Stevie attached the original research report to his brand strategy plan for Josh. - No white labeling, no data loss, no quality loss. Full Transparency. Full Value. Full Experience. Full Satisfaction.
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For me, this experience has been invaluable, teaching me a lot about conducting research on professional athletes and about working collaboratively with another strategist. It also confirmed the need, value & quality of my work.

What the outcome for Josh, Stevie and me in the long run based on this work done is, will be updated in 6 month and again 1 year after the project is completed.

Learning & Future Adjustments

I learned that while my approach to collecting & processing data was effective, it's also essential to be mindful of my time investment.

Passion turned the 'brand perception study' in to a comprehensive 'brand audit'. The insights gathered and the recommendations made based on those insights share similarities with the scope of a brand audit and goes beyond the scope. Although this is an enormous increase in value, this fact offers development potential for the profitability of my business.
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For future projects, I've streamlined the process, with one official brief meeting before starting the research and one at the end to present my results. The amount of hours Stevie & I invested have served their purpose to test a collaboration. This adjustment will undoubtedly save everyone involved a lot of time and make the process more efficient without compromising the quality of work.

Aside from her obvious natural talent with research, her ability to get things done and her incredible positivity and energy really made the prospect of working with her that much more clear!

The whole process of working together was so organized, so smooth, and mutually beneficial!
My biggest wish was, and always will be, to provide the best quality services for my clients, to know that they can feel empowered to own their brand for years to come!
Stephen "Stevie" Ewashko
Personal Brand Strategist for Soccer Player

Behind-the-scenes Insights

The process was intense. I was so engrossed that I even missed a coaching call with my mentor Anneli Hansson - a testament to my level of passion, focus & commitment!

To research on every possible account to not miss a treasure piece, I signed in for Twitter. Haven't had an account there, and wouldn't have opened one for other reasons.

I have learned a lot about soccer in general.

On presentation day, I didn't have the report ready 🙈. I underestimated how much time I would invest in gathering the information. More than it would have taken to get what was needed & wanted. - Call me ultrarunner on extramiles.

The Venn diagram, provided in the report, is the first I've ever made. It helped to illustrate the intersection between Josh's self-perception and the public's perception, and offers unique insights into Josh's personal brand and how it could be effectively leveraged.

Gathering data took me as long as analyzing & structuring them for the research report.

I was so proud on the final report that I reached out to Stevie to get him on a video call just before his meeting with Josh, to share my happieness with him and walk him through the final deliverable. To me it felt like a master piece. Best thing is, I know from here it only gets better. 😎

Conclusion

Our collaboration highlighted the value of comprehensive brand audits for athletes. When brand strategists, like myself, with robust research skills, collaborate with others, deeper insights emerge. Through our research, we pinpointed growth areas for Josh, especially in enhancing his social media presence and public image.
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My findings, such as understanding how fans connect with Josh, led to content & sponsorship ideas that truly resonated with his audience and upheld his values. Stevie leveraged these insights, emphasizing Josh's strengths and addressing areas that needed a bit of a polish like the interaction with one teammate in public quite particularly.
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My conclusion refined the entire brand foundation, like it’s mission & vision because I found what Josh wasn’t aware of or didn’t had in mind as relevant. By synthesizing all the information, we laid out a clear path for Josh's brand to follow.

Simply put:
My research set the direction, and Stevie navigated. Together, we created a brand strategy that genuinely represented Josh, combining rigorous research with expert facilitation.

This journey with Stevie & Josh underlined the power of self-awareness in personal branding for athletes, the role of public perception, and the immense value of collaboration and strategic research.

Feedback on my work from Chat GPT

Give me feedback on the quality of my findings & my conclusion, without being a people pleaser.
This project is inspired by the ChatGPT tool developed by OpenAI.
The most valuable part of our collaboration was honestly, the outcome, confidently providing great quality research for my client, and utilizing that research towards our strategic action plan!

The impact of Frances' research results on Josh's brand strategy so far is extra confirming!
To be able to incorporate Frances' findings in to my workshop, it has clearly added that extra layer of certainty towards every strategic decision.
Stephen "Stevie" Ewashko
Personal Brand Strategist for Soccer Player
Let's not waste more time, FELLOW STRATEGIST!
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IMAGINE

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Picture This

Ever imagined effortlessly unveiling data-backed strategies to your clients, becoming the undeniable authority in their eyes? With solid research and insights, there are no more endless persuasions or second-guessing your strategies; you present undeniable facts. With the right data in hand, you're the go-to expert who knows their stuff and not just someone who does something with branding. Shift from "only" intuition to data-backed,  informed & secured intuition. From guesswork to grounded strategies for your clients. Dive into a world where, every strategy hits the mark, and your expertise is not just valued, but sought after. Should it stay your dream or should it be your new reality?

Future You

Presenting the results to your client with powerful confidence.
Not convince clients anymore to follow your guidance because they cannot say something against the source of truth.
No longer shoulder the higher risk on bigger projects.
Closing more & higher sales.
Free resources to work ON not IN your business.

Next Up

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Register for a 30 minutes, 1:1 video call

Convince Yourself

of my natural research talent by running a test project with me

Raise your Prices

after gaining extra confidence, knowing I have the reseach covered!
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Warning: Your going to be electrified by my incredible positivity & energy
Thank you so much for your work.
The detail and attention you gave it really was above and beyond. Some really awesome insights that will definitely help me further my brand.

I think the biggest insight [of the research results] is the disconnect between my brand and my public persona, especially in regard to family & community. Those things are very important to me and my brand, but I haven't shown it at all!

You guys have got me thinking about the whole process differently and it’s been a great help. Narrowing that disconnect will be step 1 and I’m excited to see where it takes me! Thanks again for everything !
Joshua David "Josh" Heard
Professional Soccer Player, PFC, Canadian Premier League

You are ready to reach a new price niveau with your strategic services!

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