Personal wealth is just a small piece of your personal brand success pie. If you maximize opportunities while in the spotlight then most likely financial benefits will follow. And we know that the spotlight shines just as bright on a villain as it does on a hero.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. has amassed great personal wealth through combining extreme skill with a love-to-hate persona within his sport.
At 35, Mayweather is a man who wears multiple hats – boxer, businessman, and sole self-promoter, all of which brought in $85M last year and landed him a ranking of #1 in Forbes Sports 100 athletes. His business acumen and knowledge of the revenue stream within boxing lead to the creation of Mayweather Promotions, allowing him full control of the income flow. In doing this he is able to provide himself with 100% of the revenue generation from his fights, versus the 40-50% that other boxers get.
The key to the income generation is viewership of his sport. Mayweather has proven that he knows what drives people to pay for this luxury in mass – the promise of a good fight blended with a lot of dramatic flair. His dramatic flair has caused a lot of love, and a lot of hate.
Loving to hate
Fans can be just as passionate about wanting to see someone fail and struggle as they are about another’s success. It’s the Tiger Woods in golf analogy. Mayweather is one of the most hated in boxing at his own doing. He created the persona and works tirelessly to fuel the fire because he knows that people will pay for the chance to not only witness his greatness, but also his failure. For every hater there is a fan just as fierce in his or her appreciation.
This appreciation is showcased in his social media presence – 3M Twitter followers and 1.4M Facebook fans. Mayweather is one who knows the benefits that social media activation can provide. His involvement allows him and his team to control messaging and shower his fans with appreciation. The look/feel can definitely use some work and investment but his personality shines through and gives his fans what they want – an unapologetic glimpse into the life of an undefeated, trash-talking boxer who is close friends with 50 Cent and had Justin Bieber ringside.
Mayweather’s unapologetic nature, and “life as an open book” living, borders on contrived authenticity. People love seeing real flaws in others, especially those in the spotlight, and Mayweather plays that to an extreme. His issues, whether legal troubles, past rants, or family disputes have always been on display without the normal spin doctoring seen from other celebrities. It is worth pointing out though, that we are talking about boxing, a sport where more leeway is given for behavioral issues than in other sports. Mayweather is who he is, and while he apologizes for certain incidents, he never apologizes for himself.
In recent years, Mayweather has increased his charitable donations exponentially (Food Banks, Susan G Komen, Habitat for Humanity – $50K+ each) and it will be interesting to see what personal changes come out of this most recent jail term. As someone who has as much charisma, drive and influence as he does, it would be nice to see him use his platform and wealth to leave a positive legacy in his sport, community, and the business of athlete self-promotion.
Then again, this is boxing, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr has certainly proved that balancing out the good with the bad is exactly what his audience not only wants, but expects.
Katie Marston is President and Executive Director of DYME Branding , a personal brand development company focusing on professional athletes, celebrities, and executives. Follow her on Twitter at @ktmarston