Soundview Executive Book Summaries

A New Brand Paradigm?

So … anyone heard anything lately about this guy named LeBron James?

All kidding aside, it seems as though every media outlet has weighed in on various aspects of James’ decision to play for the NBA’s Miami Heat next season. You might wonder why I’d decide to pile on and how it relates to the world of book publishing. Believe it or not, the saga of James’ announcement offers us interesting material for debate as it relates to branding. Can you think of another time in recent memory when what was essentially a press conference generated $6 million in advertising revenue?

For those who are curious about how the 60-minute, prime-time ESPN special came to fruition, here’s a link to a great article from Advertising Age. James’ agent, Ari Emanuel, argues that the broadcast proves that, “we’re getting closer to pushing the needle on advertiser-content programming.” The ratings for the program make it difficult to argue against its success. However, when I consider the special in context, several questions pop up. Are there other athletes or media personalities who would be capable of generating the same level of attention as James? Is this a one-time occurrence or would people tune in again if another athlete announced a team change in this manner? How much of the program’s success can be attributed to the fact that it occurred during a notoriously slow news period in the American sports calendar?

One aspect that should not be overlooked is that the special generated millions of dollars for charities. There are critics who view this action as a way to excuse what’s seen as unethical journalistic practices by ESPN and egomania by James’ camp. If anything, the actions of Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor agency and ESPN are an attempt to momentarily harness a spotlight that is scattered amongst hundreds of cable channels and multiple social media sites. What do you think?

If you’re interested in more information on the shifts we’re experiencing in branding, I’ve got a must-read for you. It’s Soundview’s summary collection Branding Vol I. The collection contains three great summaries about branding, including John Gerzema and Edward Lebar’s The Brand Bubble, one of the best books on branding in recent memory. Visit us at for more information on this great collection!


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