Why is Francisco Lindor the perfect face for New Balance? And how is he changing the way brands and athletes work together?
In today’s age of social media, brand endorsements and influencer-promoted products are everywhere. It’s almost impossible to open Twitter or Instagram without seeing a celebrity pushing a product they claim to love.
It’s hard to trust whether or not these influencers or celebrities actually use the product, let alone like it.
Enter New Balance, once only seen as a running shoe company. The company has been breaking through into other sports including baseball, and is doing an amazing job capturing a young consumer.
With an emphasis on partnership rather than sponsorship, they have spent years reworking the dynamic between the company and its global brand ambassadors.
One of the faces of New Balance is Lindor.
With Lindor’s recent move to New York and the launching of the shortstop’s New Balance apparel line, ESNY had the opportunity to talk with Pat Cassidy, Global Director of Consumer Brand Marketing and Athlete Activation at New Balance, about the company’s relationship with the 27-year-old all-star.
When New Balance was initially interested in a relationship with Lindor, Cassidy was part of the recruitment process. The brand saw an opportunity with Lindor to partner with an athlete who has unquestionable excellence on the field, but – importantly – aligns with the company’s values as well.
“[Lindor] signified the opportunity to partner with a new type of athlete for us,” Cassidy said. “He not only had the potential to be transcendent on the field, but also had all these intangibles, appealing to the lifestyle of the brand. Kids want to be him and be like him. He was overt in wanting to be a part of our marketing initiatives and wanted to be an ambassador not only for New Balance but for baseball in general.”
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Lindor, whose nickname is appropriately “Mr. Smile,” has been helping shape a new mold of athlete relationships with brands like New Balance. Rather than just promoting the company and its products, he is letting his talent and personality shine through, adding a level of depth that is not always present in the marketing world.
Cassidy elaborated that, despite the company being more than a hundred years old and having a large number of athlete partners, the opportunity with Lindor came along at an important time for the brand.
“For the longest time the company’s goal was to be the number one running brand in the world, and while they are, they wanted to be one of the world’s top global sports brands alongside that and to do that you need to be able to connect performance and culture in really unique was in each sport category.” Cassidy went on to say.
Many athletes feel more comfortable wearing a certain brand or promoting products and simply receiving compensation for it.
New Balance aims to break away from that pattern and work with not just an athlete’s dominance on the field, but view their values and personality as an imperative component that goes hand in hand, adding more weight to the partnership.