No other athlete is remembered quite like Muhammad Ali. Just look at the millions, if not billions of people around the world that are grieving his passing. While Ali’s talent may have made him a champion inside the ring, it was not just his fighting skills that made him legendary. The world remembers the sports icon for his humanitarianism, and his ability to transcend culture and push boundaries.
It wasn’t merely his athletic accomplishments that made him iconic. He was one of the first athletes to consciously design a personal brand that transcended sport. Like the modern day gladiator, he knew his first battle was to “win the crowd.”
Muhammad Ali’s life serves as a powerful example of building a personal brand that is memorable. His words inspired some and angered others but like any effective brand, he stood by his principles. Through his words and his actions we are able to learn a few lessons about personal branding.
THE TAKEAWAY: Believe you are the best and then make it happen. It takes hard work to be great, and Ali’s success wasn’t just handed to him. He trained hard, improved his skill and became a world champion. To be great you must first believe you are the best. Push your brand toward greatness and it will translate into success.
THE TAKEAWAY: You have to take risks with your brand. Business owners are often afraid to take a stand on current issues because they don’t want to offend their potential customers. Ali’s opposition to the Vietnam War and his conversion to Islam teaches us that we must stand firm in what we believe in, regardless of what others will think. Your brand is defined by your values.
THE TAKEAWAY: Don’t give up on your dreams. You started your business because you had a vision of making the industry a better place. When the going gets tough, remember why you started.
THE TAKEAWAY: It’s ok to fail, as long as you always get back up! Don’t let mistakes define your future. Learn from these and come back stronger than ever.
THE TAKEAWAY: Ali not only fought in the ring, but he also fought for others. He was generous and served others well. When you can, use your brand to serve others in your community.
Muhammad Ali used his influence to endorse other companies.
For a look into the brands he partnered with, click here.