Branding 101 with Big Baller Brand
Welcome to Branding 101, a series where we examine celebrities and companies dominating the news, and what we can learn from them. Today we're delving into the Ball family and the impact they've had on the NBA.
BY SHAUN FERGUSON
During last year’s NCAA championship, there was one player at the forefront of all debates in the basketball community. Some thought he could be the next LeBron while others said he was overrated. Since then, he’s been drafted into the NBA (for the Lakers), has ignored established shoe companies, and his father has gotten into heated arguments with ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith.
Who is this game-changer? Lonzo Ball and his family’s company, Big Baller Brand (BBB). Love them or hate them, you have to admit that Lonzo and BBB’s branding is on point.
Publicity, Publicity, Publicity
Lonzo’s father Lavar is a publicity machine and the true brains behind BBB. Everything he says goes viral and whenever he gets a chance to speak publicly, he promotes the brand.
His interview with ESPN after Lonzo’s abysmal NBA debut featured him wearing a shirt with the BBB logo across his chest. When asked about Lonzo’s poor performance Lavar smugly replied, “It was a great opening night. My brand went up 12%.”
The clip got played everywhere and found its way onto the Bleacher Report Instagram page which has 5.6 million followers. This type of publicity is key to a young brand’s survival and Lavar has mastered it well.
Use Social to Your Advantage
The Ball family understands the importance of social and how you can use it to not only sell to potential customers, but to create an ongoing conversation with them as well.
Lavar (the father) has 863,000 followers on Instagram, Lonzo (the NBA player) has 3.2 million followers, Lamelo (Lonzo’s little brother) has 2.9 million followers, and LiAngelo (Ball brother number three) has 1.7 million followers.
Are you keeping up with all these L-names? I know, it can be confusing but hang in there.
The Ball family takes advantage of their reach by pushing content tailored specifically for social. From memes to highlight tapes with Lonzo’s BBB-themed rap playing, they successfully engage with their target audience without overselling.
Try the Untraditional Route
Rather than partner with established retail and shoe companies, BBB began by selling everything exclusively through its website. While this annoyed brands like Nike and Adidas, BBB was able to differentiate itself and appeal to millennials who were “sick of the man”.
However, it is now expanding.
Earlier this month it debuted a new collection at ComplexCon, met with retailers and sold merchandise at the convention. Big Baller Brand has also announced (through social media of course) that there will be pop-up shops in China next month – another first for the brand.
When BBB opens up shop in Shanghai, it is hoping to find success in the Chinese market similar to that of Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Kobe has a massive following and there is already a solid Lakers fan base in the city.
Lonzo and Lavar took a risk last spring when they decided to take the road less traveled and create their own brand. Luckily they are absolute hype machines both on social, and off of it, and so far that risk is paying off.
What do you think of the Ball family and Big Baller Brand?