3 majors at the age of 25, a $250 million sponsorship deal with Nike, former and future world number 1, in the news every week and he is admired by every golfer in the world.
What a brand!
At the age of 25 Rory is known across the globe and is already regarded as one of the best golfers of all time. It is an incredible achievement to be compared to the likes of Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, two of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen.
One of the most important things with a brand is to stay true to your brand personality. Rory has done this since the age of 15 and 10 years later it still holds true. He has to be the best golfer in the world and has achieved this by working hard on his game and competing at the highest level week in week out. This is his brands strongest asset; he has a clear direction with even more determination and he never strays from this.
McIlroy burst into the global limelight when he shot an opening round of -3 in the British Open in 2007 as an amateur at just 17 years of age. He finished as the top amateur in the event. What is just as impressive is that straight after his first round, he jumped straight into the BBC studios and gave a very well-spoken interview. That certainly isn’t easy as a 17 year old with hundreds of millions watching you. The boy had been well known previously, but this was the day he became a global sports brand.
Being a global sports brand
Rory has a very open and well received personality in his career, but he manages his personal life extremely well. He handles interviews in a respectful manner and politely avoids questions that probe too much. This is a very likeable trait compared to say, Tiger Woods. Tiger comes across as a robot on the golf course, there is very little personality associated with his brand, just pure success.
This made it easy for golf enthusiasts around the world to start enjoying watching, reading about or listening to Rory.
His first professional win came in 2009 in The Dubai desert classic when he held on to win by a shot after a super bunker shot on the 18th. Nobody really understands the value of this shot. After 2 years of coming close to winning on a number of occasions he finally won. His hard word, determination and motivation carried through in that shot. (Remember those attributes were there when he was 15 too)
That is the internal value, but the external value was huge. Rory’s brand was starting to gain momentum. Major brands were keeping an eye on him, waiting for an opportunity to leverage on Rory’s brand.
Then in 2012 Rory won 5 times on tour, he also became the first golfer to win more money than any other player in both Europe and America.
What was the value of Rory’s brand after this? Just ask Nike, Omega and his long list of sponsors, but I’m sure you will get a different answer from the likes of Oakley (who had a legal battle with Nike over his sponsorship) or Horizon (who he is still in a legal battle with). They didn’t want to lose the value of Brand Rory and why would they!
Rory’s brand value was worth $250 million to Nike, that’s a lot more than his value 10 years previously. Nike have used McIlroy in a number of commercials which have really shown McIlroys personality shine through. Nike know what the fans want and they are helping to bring Brand Rory to them. Have a look at this for example:
“No Cup is Safe”
Rory also starred in a video for The European Tour in which he really let his personality out. Who knew robots were so cheeky ??
Rory Vs The Robot
What made his brand grow? Hard work, determination, motivation and wanting to become the world number 1. (How many times have I mentioned his brand values – have they ever changed?)
He has clearly put time and effort into perfecting his brand since he was a young boy. The case study is about how Rory wanted to allow his fans to get closer to him and gain an insight into his life. He wanted to develop his brand further in the eyes of his fans.
Rory has stayed true to his values, he never veered off course and lost his direction. He grew his brand by winning and backing up his promises to become the best! Just like Apple, Toyota or any other major brand, stay true to your core message, keep working hard and your brand has every chance of flourishing.
Last weekend saw Rory lift The claret jug by winning the British Open for the first time after a brilliant performance over the four days winning by a two shot margin. Congrats Rory from all at Frawley Branding, the world is well and truly your oyster.
(Image taken from Rory McIlroy Facebook Page – Thanks Rory)