•Former Kenyan badminton player Charles Gacheru said many corporates worldwide are interested in working with sportspersons who are passionate about SDGs
•Many sportspersons in the country are yet to exploit the benefits of social media by staying in touch with their audiences.
Kenyan sportspersons have been advised to build their personal brands around sustainable development goals to attract endorsements from more corporate bodies.
IMG Events and PR Kenya managing director, Charles Gacheru, said many corporates worldwide are interested in working with sportspersons who are passionate about issues, such as environment, education, women empowerment and poverty eradication, among others.
"You can be a very good hockey player or the 3000m steeplechase champion but decide to promote environmental sustainability using this platform. Many companies' CSR activities are nowadays geared towards SDGs, a case in point is Safaricom," Gacheru said.
Gacheru, a former badminton player, said many Kenyan sportspersons struggle to attract corporate endorsements because they rely solely on their performances on the track and field hence they do not even understand who they are.
"Who you are is different from what you are. Brands are not interested in what you have achieved in your discipline but who you represent as a person. You may be the best swimmer but if you cannot convince a potential corporate partner how your swimming will help grow their brand, then they have no business working with you," Gacheru said.
He lamented that many sportspersons in the country are yet to exploit the benefits of social media by staying in touch with their audiences.
"There are many athletes who have tens of thousands of followers but only post information once per month or after every three months. This is in contrast to international sportspersons who are constantly keeping their followers updated on their activities," he said.
Using the example of World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, athletes were also urged to improve their communication skills and milk international platforms and events to grow their personal brands.
"Just because you have won many titles does not make you special. The moment you think of yourself as special is the moment you lose the plot. Many sportspersons, such as Usain Bolt, earn more money from corporate endorsements than their winnings," he said. Gacheru was speaking during the SOYA Symposium at Sawela Lodges in Naivasha on Saturday.