Brand yourself for the career you want : Be Media Savvy

From the sports stadium to the boardroom; being media savvy is a necessary skill to master.

Deborah Ogden

With the increased sophistication of smartphones and continued growth of social media platforms, interviews and film footage can go viral at the click of a button. Impact and media expert and Choix™ Consultant Deborah Ogden discusses the importance of media image and why how you appear on camera can have far-reaching effects.

The ever-intrusive nature of the media and 24/7 news coverage mean the need to deliver a message in the right manner has never been more important.

Who can ever forget the cringing moment when Wayne Rooney was caught telling the England fans what he thought of them as they booed the team off the pitch? You only need to log onto YouTube to view hundreds of image-damaging footage of sports and media celebrities caught unawares or under pressure.

In this increasingly media-led world no one is safe from the impact of reputation-damaging footage.

An award-winning corporate lawyer and Chelsea fan recently made the headlines when he was sacked by his firm after appearing on a video vociferously defending Jose Mourinho and voicing his view of an opposing football team. His employer immediately dismissed him stating the impact of the outburst on the firm’s reputation.

Anyone who has watched Sky or MOTD will recognise the discomfort when players, inexperienced in front of a camera, repeat the same lines, head down and mumbling into the floor. Or the latest Company Executive having to defend his firm’s actions or lack of response in the face of a crisis.

How do we deal with these situations? How do we protect our professional reputation and our personal brand to limit the fallout that can go global in seconds?

The answer is to understand how the media works. To understand the impact your communication is having and to know how to make it work FOR you, not against you.

When you’re faced with a difficult question from the media, or a subject you are uncomfortable with, it is important to know how to turn it around and take control of the interview, ensuring your brand and professional reputation remain intact.

Research tells us that 55% of our impact in any situation is what people see – We don’t even need to open our mouths before the impact of our body language is being felt. This might be an obvious “two finger sign” favoured by the likes of Wayne Rooney or indeed just a look or a physical gesture, but it can be picked up on instantly and may well be giving out a message that you don’t want to be sharing.

According to research 38% of our impact, is how people hear our voice – the pitch, the pace, the tone of the voice – all of which speak volumes about who we are and what we feel about the question being asked. Only 7% of our impact is what we actually say.

So our audience are reading much more into what we’re NOT saying than they are into the words we are actually using!

The message is clear: Brand yourself for the career you want not the job you have. Your personal brand and reputation have a huge impact on your career path. In the sport and entertainment industry the repercussions can be greater; impacting on financial achievements and endorsement opportunities, so invest in it. Whatever your area of expertise ensure the public are seeing what you want them to see and that any media opportunity that comes your way is positive and constructive, helping to build a strong personal brand and representing your club or business well.

Good media skills are a great asset during your professional life whether in the boardroom or on the pitch. For many sports professionals being media savvy can open many doors after retirement. With so many TV, radio and online channels devoted to sport, there is a constant need for good presenters and commentators who can work with the media to bring their years of experience and skill to the viewing public.

Rolling news and online current affairs programmes are under pressure to find media friendly spokespeople to comment and offer an opinion on news stories and features, providing a great opportunity to raise your profile and reputation as an expert in your field.

So whichever arena you perform in, the pitch or the office; be ready for your next media interview, avoid the pitfalls and view it as an opportunity to build your personal brand and reputation.

Deborah Ogden – Brand and Media Consultant


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Game, Set and Batch of Injuries; Too many matches in a congested schedule for Tennis’ elite



With the Australian Open, the first grand slam of the year days away, the world’s top-six ranked players, including Petra Kvitova, have all retired from warm-up events in Australia in the past week .Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska are the latest players to suffer setbacks before the Australian Open, with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza – have also had injuries this week. French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova has joined the Australian Open casualty ward, withdrawing from the event as she continues to battle a bacterial infection.

On the men’s side Roger Federer has been laid low for much of last week with a bug, world No.9 Richard Gasquet is already out with a back injury and fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils (leg) was an early withdrawal from the Hopman Cup. Gasquet, who is suffering with a back injury, has joined Juan Monaco and Australian youngster Thanasi Kokkinakis in pulling out of the year’s first grand slam.

This has sparked the debate once more that players are putting their bodies on the line repeatedly without adequate rest and rehabilitation. The combination of an ever dwindling off season, general overtraining and the increasing exposure to the unforgiving concrete courts, that dominate the circuit in the modern era, are the main causes of players breaking down.

Less than a week into 2016, injuries and illness are already prevalent as can be seen from the following:

  • Women’s world No.1 Serena Williams (knee)
  • Women’s world No.2 Simona Halep (achilles tendon)
  • Women’s world No.3 Garbine Muguruza (foot)
  • Women’s world No.4 Maria Sharapova (forearm)
  • Women’s world No.9 Lucie Safarova (bacterial infection)
  • Men’s world No.3 Roger Federer (bug)
  • Men’s world No.9 Richard Gasquet (back)
  • Men’s world No.16 Gael Monfils (leg)
  • Samantha Stosur (wrist)
  • Casey Dellacqua (concussion)
  • Ajla Tomljanovic (stomach)
  • Thanasi Kokkinakis (shoulder)

It is almost certain that before the first Grand Slam of the year, there will be numerous players who withdraw or cannot play, whilst when the event starts, due to the sweltering conditions there will be player retirements and withdrawals through exhaustion or injury.

With the Australian Open about to begin on Monday 18th January the majority of players will have allowed themselves three weeks off in December in preparation for the Australian summer. Tennis has no off-season like many other professional sports. So for a lot of the players they will still have been grinding it out in tournaments until the end of November.

Temperatures in Australia often reach 38/40c degrees making it horrible to sit and watch let alone play!
A combination of the pressure to satisfy tournament sponsors, appease TV and Media schedules, win prize money and secure ranking points is compelling players to compete too regularly and in turn they are putting themselves at a far greater risk of injury.

Top 10 players must commit to specific WTA tournaments, exclusive of the Grand Slams and the year-end WTA Championships, which include the four Premier Mandatory tournaments, four of the Premier 5’s and at least two 700-level tournaments. A player has the option of skipping one of the Premier 5s annually, but must enter the one skipped in the next year. It is not hard to grasp what a gruelling schedule that becomes in practice for Tennis’ elite.

In addition further pressure is added as 2016 is an Olympic year and the Rio Olympics have to be fitted into the events schedule. None of this takes account of Davis Cup and Fed Cup which also adds to the scheduling.

The lure of money and keeping sponsors happy puts pressure on the majority of players to play 20 or more tournaments in a calendar year.

The system is set up to make money at tournaments; there is a conflict between players being pushed to make it for themselves and for others and having enough time to rest. It’s an important problem which has not been addressed properly.

The common view of Sports orthopaedic and medical specialists is that the surge in injury-related retirements during play is the result in players entering too many tournaments. The problem is not that they play too much; it’s the way the schedule is set up. Players frequently go through long stints, six weeks or more without a break. Often the tournament play, coupled with the rigors of travel and practicing every day can be too much and most players could benefit from some time off.

The ATP and WTA claim that they have addressed the problem. Both have education programmes emphasising the need for planning a schedule and preparation. The ATP provides full-time trainers for which demand has markedly increased, as do the WTA for the women, though there are many more personal trainers on the men’s tour.

There are the added issues that players hit the ball so hard, the rackets have had such an effect and there is now so much “strength in depth” in both the men’s and women’s games. In addition, matches are tougher on the body and there are few easy ones any more. Players are learning about the balance of preparation, prevention and recovery and rehab. The ATP and WTA would argue that stats don’t show there are more injuries than before; it’s that several high-profile players have had injuries. This catches people’s attention.

The WTA stats over the last five years indicate a doubling of on-site withdrawals. More injuries have been caused by changes in the modern game. There is a need to rationalise the calendar better around the Grand Slams, with constant changes of surface, culture and of time zones influence the body a lot more than is realised.

In addition players are playing a lot more tennis and it’s a 12 – month sport now. The technology is such that they are more prone to injuries and the majority of injuries seem to be over-use problems.
Similarly, the elite junior players from pre-puberty to late teens seem to pick up the same kind of injuries as the elite groups. There are often changes in the dominant shoulders, with a reduced range of movement. There can be an asymmetry problem and postural changes.

That’s a warning for the professional tours if they allow undue pressure on players to compete. It is a difficult dilemma, but if an authority sets up a new system which penalises a player for not turning up, you have to wonder whether it is better.

The pressure to satisfy tournament sponsors, TV and Media schedules, as well as, to win prize money and ranking points is making players compete too much and run a far greater risk of getting injured. Will the time come when the players start taking the administrators to court?

The ATP/WTA need to take responsibility and put players’ health high on the agenda. Otherwise the situation might give way to litigation, as we have seen in football. There could be specialists who would come forward and say “This guy should rest”. You can speculate how long it will be before a player who feels forced into playing might turn round and sue. It might sound farfetched, but you can imagine it happening!

If you require any legal advice surrounding litigation issues please do not hesitate to contact the Choix team.

Adrian Rattenbury – Sports Consultant and Head of the European Registry of Tennis Professionals (RPT)




Could the January transfer window be worth £100m to the property market?


The character Mr Micawber in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield is a good source of quotes on the subject of happiness. In the novel, Micawber, an eternal optimist, is repeatedly convinced that ‘something will turn up’. His name is often used to refer to someone who lives in a constant expectation of a better life and is the foundation of the “Micawber Principle”:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds and six. Result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six. Result misery.”

The January Transfer Window is underway, Premier League clubs have until 11pm on February 1st to complete their transactions, but high spending by the title (and Champions League) contenders, fuelled by massive TV revenues and particularly poor first halves to the season from Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, will be the determining factor in whether the total spent by Premier League clubs matches the £130 million recorded in the past two seasons or reaches the record £225 million spent in 2011.

The massive and, some may say, obscene “splash of cash” during the January transfer window by Premier League clubs, money is invariably a popular subject in the world of football and, notwithstanding the ‘big clubs’, often spent by those who can least afford to!

Whilst we see the huge sums of money which players attract in transfer fees, perhaps however, the biggest sums are spent on the weekly wages of players which in turn – good or bad – has a significant baring on the economy, both nationally and local to where the ‘stars’ leave or arrive. None more so where the house market is concerned.

Some Real Estate Agents have estimated that the January transfer window could be worth as much as £100m to the UK property market, as highly-paid Premier League players joining new clubs eye up new homes to buy or rent as part of their relocation. From our own experiences acting for high profile footballers and celebrities the niche areas such as Cheshire, Surrey and Hertfordshire will be on high alert to potential market activity over the next few months. Big wages and signing-on fees mean footballers are both cash-rich and willing and able to transact on a property very quickly making them highly desirable customers for vendors and landlords of prime property.

Often the first signs of interest or activity will not be found on the back pages of the press; indeed many fans will be watching the property market for tell-tale signs of activity not only regarding sales, but rentals. Many Premier League footballers now rent instead of buy their mansions, to solve the problem of having a property to sell when they moving on. Often the property market sparking a flurry of rumours about imminent departures.

Nowadays social media can end up creating pandemonium and the merest whiff of an alleged sighting in an area creates a knock on effect. Invariably newspapers pick upon the story and before long the news (or rumours?) is everywhere. What starts as a simple tweet can quickly turn into a media frenzy.

Due to escalating player salaries and price growth in prime property markets, it is estimates that transfer window home-moving activity could be worth as much as £100m to the property industry, accounting for house sales, rental agreements and home refurbishment and renovation costs.

Get in touch and speak to one of the Choix Team to discuss property related matters and/or Sport, Entertainment or Media issues.

Jim Pearson – Sports Consultant