Serena Williams has easily become one of the most recognized names in modern-day sports history. As a former number one ranked American tennis player, she managed to turn that entire identity into an incredibly successful personal brand. As if her twenty-three Grand Slam singles titles weren’t enough, Williams leveraged her substantial tennis skills into several millions of dollars worth of endorsement deals and prize money in 2016 alone.
Here are three personal branding lessons that we can take from Serena Williams:
Serena created her own clothing line called “Serena,” and with which, she has managed to exhibit incredible amounts of inclusivity. The tennis star makes it very apparent that her clothing line being financially available for everyone as well as having sizes available for all body types and sizes, is very important to her and her brand. Not only was this the right thing to do, but it also instantly made her brand’s audience size expand drastically.
On the 2019 Harper’s Bazaar cover, Serena was published completely unretouched. Her commitment to transparency in the modern era, from photos to her personal brand, is something to be eagerly embraced. Audiences appreciate the confidence that it takes to show imperfections in a world of airbrushing and photoshop.
Break the rules.
One thing that has caused a lot of controversy for Serena is her fashion choices. After showing up to The French Open wearing a tight compression catsuit, she was immediately faced with backlash. Her solution to the scrutiny was to arrive at The Australian Open wearing a similar catsuit. Though these were technically medically necessary to help prevent blood clots that she was suffering from, her clothing choices were still met with criticism. Choosing to push through, not only did her brand become ever more relevant, but the dress code rules were updated by The Women’s Tennis Association.
Serena Williams is without a doubt one of the best tennis players that have ever been, but she is also a personal branding queen. She has an incredible number of accomplishments, both on the court and off. Personal brands everywhere could learn from Serena Williams.