Their drive and passion set them apart. Every obstacle is an opportunity to succeed, every limit a challenge to be overcome. They will stop at nothing to reach their goals, and we worship them for it. Athletes define their brand as they live it.

Their quiet perspectives are beacons of clarity and wisdom in the flurry of media frenzy. Here are our favorite quotes from four of the most dedicated and well-respected figures in the sporting world today.

Serena Williams Famous Quote

The Quote: I feel as a brand I’m here to be around for a long time. 

Who Said It: Serena Williams

Who Are They: The No.1 ranked women’s singles tennis player, widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time. She was also the second-highest paid female athlete in 2015, and the first black female athlete to have a picture by herself on the cover of Vogue.

Our Perspective: Serena has held her place at the top for years, and she’s not going anywhere. Her endurance and stamina are unmatched, and she continues to be an unstoppable force. Her brand is untouchable because of her confidence – if Serena decides she’s going to be around for a long time, you better believe she will be. When it comes to your brand, have a long-term plan and keep your eye on the prize; it’s a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

Howard Schultz Famous Quote

The Quote: Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is based on the most important characteristic, which is trust.

Who Said It: Howard Schultz

Who Are They: An American businessman, best known for his role as the chairman and CEO of Starbucks, as well as the former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics. He has a net worth of $1.5 billion.

Our Perspective: Schultz’s rags-to-riches story and the well-loved Starbucks brand are at odds with his infamy in the sporting world. Despite wholeheartedly agreeing with this quote, we can’t help but feel a nagging sense of betrayal. Remember, when it comes to your brand, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Brand promises mean nothing if your audience can't trust you. 

Lebron James Famous Quote

The Quote: Nothing is given, everything is earned.

Who Said It: Lebron James

Who Are They: A professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James famously left the Cavaliers to take his talents to the Miami Heat in 2010, but has since re-joined his former team. Affectionately dubbed King James, Lebron is one of America's most influential athletes.

Our Perspective: Lebron is right on: nothing in life is free. Those who achieve lasting success are the ones who reject shortcuts in favor of doing the hard work, day in and day out. The same is true of building your brand – if you make promises you can’t keep, shy away from investing in your customers and refuse to take risks, you’re going to find yourself at the bottom of the pile. Sometimes luck can give you the boost you need, but brands who endure don't take anything for granted. They go out and get it done! 

Marshawn Lynch Famous Quote

The Quote: I’m just ‘bout that action, boss.

Who Said It: Marshawn Lynch

Who Are They: An American football running back who played for the Seattle Seahawks. Famously nicknamed “beast mode” for his aggressive play style, he has now built his personal brand upon his reputation - launching his own clothing line called Beast Mode Apparel. From his company's About page, "There's only one BEASTMODE and it isn't in the way you play the's who you are, it's how you're built - it's a lifestyle."

Our Perspective: Marshawn Lynch is one of the most beloved figures in football, despite his sullen demeanor and propensity for infuriating the media. There’s something to be said for sticking to your guns and focusing on the task at hand. When it comes to your brand, it's easy to make sure you look good and talk the talk all you want, but ask yourself: are you actually good at what you do? Less talk, more action.

Continue reading:  Branding Definitions #21-24

Or: Definitions #29-32 - The Inventors

Stay up to date on the entire list of the 52 All-Time Greatest Definitions of Branding. New definitions weekly. 

Hannah Fisher

Lead UX Designer

Hannah Fisher is our Lead UX Designer. She enjoys thinking about user experience and the unexpected roles products can play in our lives. If you arrive with assumptions, expect her to challenge them.

Filed under: Branding Definitions

Tagged with: Branding, Athletes