Lesson #2 – You either create or destroy value by brand association.

There’s a cute anecdote that my wife loves to tell that you’ve probably heard, and it goes like this:

Once the President and First Lady went out for a night on the town.  Toward the end of their evening as they were driving back to the White House, the car stopped at a traffic light.  At the same time they both noticed the foreman at a small construction site repairing what seemed to be a large pothole in the street.  The First Lady looked intently at the foreman and said, “Well I’ll be!”
“What?”, replied the President.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d say that foreman over there is the same man I dated in high school and went to prom with.  At one time, we were madly in love.  My, how things change”.
With an air of confidence, the President replied, “Well it is a good thing you didn’t stay together, you’d be the wife of a construction foreman now.”
To which the First Lady replied, “No dear, he’d be the President now”.

We often go about, not really understanding the power of brand association.  It is said that you can take your top ten associations, and your household income will probably be within 5% of that average number.  Well what if it is not?  You probably need to re-evaluate your associations.  You can either create or destroy value by brand association.  Don’t make the mistake of destroying your brand’s value by making bad associations.

Lesson #3 – Consider your transition plan earlier rather than later.

Unfortunately, athletes know all too well that their “big chance” can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Most athletes are just an injury away from not being able to do what they love the most.  If so, what will happen?  If you haven’t created other streams of income, through saving and investing, then you will have a long road ahead of you of “normal living”.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this as most individuals live this type of life, but they are not adjusting to having access to six or seven figures either.   Unless you’re Ryan Broyles, living on a fraction of your current player salary would be a hard adjustment. This is why I recommend working on your transition plan as soon as your career begins.  Maybe Murphy won’t darken your doorstep, but you can never be too sure.  In any case, it helps to be prepared for 50-60 more years of living expenses after your playing days are over.