Tiki Barber on David Beckham, Lebron James and Jen Selter on Marketing Stage

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Tiki Barber is a bit of an NFL legend. 10,000+ career rushing yards and three Pro Bowl appearances will do that for you.

He came to Web Summit and brought his startup Thuzio with him. They use data science to match influencers with major brands and institutions for marketing campaigns.

A few months back in a pre-Web Summit Tiki told me that he reckons Beyoncé is the world’s most marketable celeb.

He was talking with Rene Rechtman, Head of International at Maker Studios – they represent YouTube star and New York Times best-seller PewDiePie.


Tiki and Rene at Marketing Summit.

“The concept of talent as a brand is new concept,” he told the Marketing Summit audience.

He said that he reckons David Beckham was the one of the first major sportspeople to sell his talent as a brand and paid tribute to his success at doing so.

According to Tiki, Beckham’s marketing of his brand paved the way for today’s sports stars to do likewise:

“Look at Lebron James: when he was 18 he was thinking about his brand and how he could make it work for him.

“Nowadays, everybody thinks they have their own brand and they actually do.

“The question is how do you monetise that,” he said.

Tiki spoke about what kind of influencers Thuzio helps match to brands for marketing campaigns.

The themes of ‘passion’ and ‘authenticity’ featured strongly:

“When you’re picking the perfect talent for your campaign, you’re paying guys who are going to influence your customers.

“I think it starts with passion. I come from sports and we know passion there. I think sportspeople in this country know passion when they see it,” he said, perhaps referring to our own Jamie Heaslip whom he shared a stage with on Web Summit Day One

He said that passion is valued and respected across all industries and that many of our social media influencers’ success can be ascribed to their passion:

“That’s why you see Jen Selter blowing up like she is on social media. It’s her passion,” he said.

The talk turned to YouTube influencers and whether there is a danger their authenticity – the reason their fans support them in the first place – could be diluted by taking part in paid-for campaigns:

He talked about his own experience running the New York Marathon last Sunday and was self-deprecating – authentic – about his performance:

“I did in 4.50 – it wasn’t great. I did walk a lot of it.

“I’m built for sprinting, not for running over 26 miles,” he said.

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