Meet Paul Beckles, Our Community Member of the Week

Community Spotlight: Paul Beckles, Dir. of Brand Partners at Athletes First

Name: Paul Beckles

Job: Director, Brand Partnerships North America

Company: Athletes First Partners

LinkedIn: Paul Beckles

In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.

I’m a charismatic pragmatist whose passions revolve around basketball culture, community, and brand building. I got here with perseverance and determination (tatted on my chest), networking, and being a team player. Oh, shout out to my family for their support as well.

What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?

I’m buying personalization. It’s a key way to break through the clutter. Who doesn’t like to feel like they are being spoken to directly and with useful information? For example, getting a personalized lineup of upcoming concerts by artists from my streaming platform I actually listen to is where it’s at.

How do you define engagement?

Any meaningful action taken by an audience member. The goal is to drive them to the next phase leading them closer to making a decision than they were before that touch point.

What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?

While we played a small role in the overall process, the Dwayne Wade + Budweiser tribute video that went viral last month was a proud moment. Working with the SBJ Sports Sponsor of the Year is always an honor but enabling them the player rights needed to create such a powerful piece of content was really cool. Respect to the brands working with athletes to develop content that helps tell their story beyond the court/field/track etc.

What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?

Right now, we are focused on hitting the streets. All summer A1P will be in front of major brands telling our story and our client’s story which both are pretty cool. Our goal is to help the collective of current NBA players build their personal brands while helping partners develop creative and impactful campaigns.

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As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?

Knuckle Heads. Real, raw, authentic basketball conversation. “Who was the first person who bussed ‘yo ass in the league?” might be the best opening question ever. D Miles and Q-Rich in my era where cultural heroes so I’m happy to see them come back to the forefront with the same energy and spirit but a different medium.

What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?

The high would have to be meeting and working with some of my childhood heroes. Pretty cool when you stop to think about it. Low? We work a lot and while it’s fun, you miss some valuable family time.

What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?

The easy answer is diversity, more of it. But if you peel back a layer, I think there needs to be a focus on diversifying teams to represent the core consumer or target demos of your brand, property, or league. The people on the front lines should be able to identify with many different cultures and resemble the folks that you are targeting, and the decision makers need to represent them the same way. Too many people making decisions in a vacuum that affect people they don’t understand, your consumer. Data is great but there’s more to it than that.

What’s an example of one way in which MiS has positively impacted your career?

MiS has positively impacted my career by being a valued resource for inspiring conversation and networking. I remember when I was getting ready to start a new job and I mentioned it in the group. The person who had the position I was filling most recently reached out and we were able to connect. The insights and knowledge shared was invaluable. We’ve been able to build a relationship through the group, it’s a powerful tool. Shout out to Chris, also featured in the Community Spotlight.

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Hear more from leaders and creators across the sports industry this June at Hashtag Sports, an annual conference designed for media and marketing professionals.