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Dec 16 2014

LeBron James' Advice to Brands And Marketers


By Bruce Rogers

Read the story on Forbes




According to four-time NBA Most Valuable player, LeBron James, authenticity is the key to winning – on the basketball court, in social media, and in business.


James and his longtime business partner, Maverick Carter, joined SapientNitro CMO Bill Kanarick for the recent SapientNitro Idea Exchange, hosted with Fenway Sports Management at Boston’s Fenway Park, to share their perspectives on how brands can use digital innovation to more meaningfully connect with always-on fans.


Rated the most followed U.S. athlete on social media and the second highest paid celebrity in the world by FORBES, James’ insights on building enduring relationships with fans have implications that resonate well beyond the sports arena.


The three discussed a series of factors that can significantly influence a brand’s success in today’s always-on world:


  • Authenticity: LeBron commented that, “people know what’s real and what’s fake. You can’t cheat that.”  As a result, LeBron tries to be authentic in everything he does – he shares what he thinks on issues that matter to him and his fans, whether related to his game performance or his views on the world.


  • Meaningful Dialog: LeBron shares that “his fans made him who he is today, and he wants to take them on his journey.” It is not just lip service. He handles his own social media, shares personal details on what is happening in his life and gives fans a voice in some of the decisions he makes, like which jersey number to wear upon his return to Cleveland.


  • Perseverance: LeBron believes in the possibilities created by digital innovation to keep him meaningfully connected to his fans. The key for him is to keep pushing forward even when there are setbacks. LeBron admitted he “had doubts” when he lost his first NBA Finals series in Miami, but he quickly focused on what he could do better – both as an individual and as part of a team – and reinforced that whether on the court or in an office, perseverance is the key to breaking boundaries.

As Kanarick noted, ”now more than ever, we are confronted in our business lives with the massive opportunity created by digital innovation—but with that opportunity comes both challenge and risk. LeBron and Maverick provide powerful insights for any brand trying to capitalize on this opportunity.”

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