Brand Beckham

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We’re watching the David Beckham documentary at the moment; we usually manage about 30 minutes before Grace falls asleep on the sofa.

That’s no reflection on the content though – it’s an interesting watch, charting as it does Beckham’s rise to fame, and covering many of the quintessential moments that we remember vividly growing up as football fans.

And – to be totally candid – who doesn’t love a little snoop around a multi-millionaire’s house?

If I wanted to be critical, I’d say it doesn’t really bring much that’s new to the table – there’s no big reveal, or classified information that gets unveiled – but there was one line that I actually thought was super useful for all of us running businesses:

(I paraphrase – because I can’t remember the precise words)

“I knew that one day my career would end, so I started working with the brands”

Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll be aware of Brand Beckham – Posh and Becks transcend sport and pop music, and have used their brand to sell everything from whisky to sunglasses.

But it was the way he approached it that I found most interesting: it was a conscious decision to build the brand, knowing that one day, his primary source of income would cease.

Most of us haven’t got David Beckham’s right foot, but there’s a big takeaway there about how we all approach our marketing.

Using direct response marketing to get the customers ready to buy today is – for many of us – essential.

But what about all the customers that could buy from you in the future, who aren’t in the market right now?

Do they know who you are?  Are they on your email list?  Following you on social media?  Consuming your content?

If not, it’s worth thinking about what you’re doing to build your brand and make your audience aware of who you are and what you do.

For years, brand was the preserve of the big businesses – they were the only ones with pockets deep enough to fork out for the extortionate advertising costs.

These days, we all have the tools to build a brand – new media has levelled the playing field.

Email is staggeringly cheap for what it is, and social is free, with the option to pour some petrol on your posts with ad spend too.

And the simple truth is that the more of the right people that know who you are, like you and trust you, the more likely it is that when they’re ready to buy, they don’t even bother looking for anyone else.

This isn’t about jettisoning any of the customer-getting activity you’re currently doing, and this certainly isn’t a quick fix.

But if you can supplement some of your direct response style marketing with some longer-term brand building, you’re ticking both boxes:

  1. Getting the customers that are ready to buy today
  2. Prepping the customers that will buy in the future, so that you’re the natural choice

Becks knew that one day, his feet would fail him. 

But by putting the groundwork in to build Brand Beckham, by the time his football career ended, he had people falling over themselves to give him money.

New media means we can all do the same (albeit probably with fewer mansions and Maseratis) – keep doing the stuff that brings in the bacon now, and start doing some new things that’ll serve us in two years, five years, ten years from now.


P.S. There’s a great short snippet from one of Thom’s recent videos on exactly this topic – click here to watch it now.

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