Asisat Oshoala has what it takes to build a personal brand that is globally appreciated. The first BCC World woman footballer of the year in 2015 and former CAF African Woman footballer of the year, has been successful in FIFA World Cup and for Liverpool in the UK. She is currently won FA cup with Arsenal Women.
A graduate of Business Administration Lagos State Polytechnic... Oshoala only needs a partnership with a pro- sports Agency, First Class Sport Marketing (FCSM) to put her brand on the global spotlight.
In a sport heavily dominated by men in Nigeria as well as the UK – the heads of most governing body, the owners of teams, and the most eminent footballers are all men. I ask Asisat Oshoala what it’s like to be a woman on top of her game in such a patriarchal industry?
“It’s a reality”, she says, “You must do more to clear your brand visibility in the mind of football fans, stakeholders and corporate sponsors. The key is to acknowledge that pretty does it pretty well. I make sure I'm in the right places, doing the rights... trying my best to always put up top class performances in the field; and off the pitch to be a role model for aspiring girls and a reference point to the global sports community as a whole."
"It's all about my personality... and my work should speak for itself, and to start getting positive attention that will eventually disabuse the current cultural norms."
"I have to say that these ‘norms’ are more ingrained in Nigeria and in the UK than in the United States, where the system at least tries to set a level playing field. "Over here, there’s no real endorsement of female sport. A strong woman athlete in the US is an icon, but not so much in the UK, and almost non-existent in Nigeria where I come from."
"We have a lot of catching up to do; it seems, but how do you make a leopard change its spots? Akinyemi Olubusola, Vice President of the UK based First Class Sport Marketing (FCSM), says that the current trends of health and wellness are helping brands to elevate the relevance of women in sports.
“These sorts of macro trends, as well as the realisation on the part of brands that this is a growing demographic and their focus on men’s footballers means they’re only talking to half the population... means investment in women football should be on the rise soon.
“The next step is to make women footballers like Asisat Oshoala to become a global cultural icons, as comfortable in the front row of fashion as she is on the field, so that her influence goes beyond the sport she plays.”
FCSM Manages Oshoala's Brand
“Marketable athletes like Oshoala understand themselves as brands. So we only help her build brand personality she is comfortable with, in line with her personal vision... and this in turn enables us to create new endorsement opportunities beyond just sport,” says Olubusola.
“It’s about cultivating her brand characteristics off the pitch as well as on it. So she's known for one dimension on the pitch, but by the nature of the game, her professional life span on... and it’s her off-pitch personality that extends her career,” he adds.
"It our responsibility to represent her and to manage especially her off the pitch personality, spanning across mainstream media, Social media and community relationship with her brand. Oshoala has all it takes to be a global women football icon." Olubusola explains. "Think about all Golfamedia is doing with Chrisano Ronaldo's CR7 brand and the success they have achieved so far."
Making Oshoala A Global Influencer:
Social influence, or so-called “influencer marketing”, is a touchy subject in FCSM, but its efficacy cannot be understated. Unlike traditional, one-to-many models of reaching a specific audience, the role reversal of social influence has one key advantage – that consumers quite literally choose to hear messages broadcast by the personality.
“It'll always be around the relationship between Oshoala and her fans... means she has to sing for her supper more than ever” says Olubusola “She's being positioned as an influencer and arbitrator of behavior.
Although, not all influencers are created equal, so the job is about aligning Oshoala with their fan base and that’s all about credibility, and understanding that creating a 360 degree relationship is very different from merely buying likes or followers on social media plaforms.”
Oshoala is already reaching out to the next generation of girls in sports, especially footballers in Nigeria... encouraging them to combine football and education... where she stands as a role model.
She is also pushing for a level playing field between men and women football in Nigeria. Probably, using her growing global personality to attract attention of stakeholders and of corporate sponsors to partner with Nigeria women's league for growth women football in Africa and beyond.
Creating sponsorship opportunities and building a footballer’s brand isn’t the micromanagement that it may seem, however: “it’s ultimately their brand and they have to be comfortable with the partnership and their part of the deal. But our agency know brands and what they buy, and it’s our role to educate and guide Oshoala before she enters into any relationship...to be fully informed," Olubusola concluded.