Cycling & Public Image
Fool For You
3“The bad boy image only works for one out of a thousand, if even, and usually does not last very long. And remember, you must speak positive about your sponsor. Nobody wants you to lie. If you can’t stand behind your sponsor or what they are offering you… then move on. You have got to be [tuff] enough to turn down a deal ahead of time, if you know it is not going to work for you.” Hans Rey, Trials Superstar on public persona
Hans “No Way” Rey got his nickname because friends saw him riding stuff they never thought possible. Hans fools physics but is no fool when it comes to managing how he is perceived. He leaps and bounds beyond performance to balance his worldwide media exposure. He knows how important it is to sponsors to generate interest from millions of spectators in order to sell product. Even companies going for “cool” consumers learn the value of an untouchable image for market share. I’d like to hope that perhaps Hans doesn’t want to just seem good, perhaps he wants to be good from within as well as without.
Eventually to sell enough one has to tap into mainstream, and bad doesn’t play on Main Street. In cycling’s public controversies, a lesson should be noted: it’s not enough to do right, one must also appear to do right. If you do right but appear to do wrong, you will limit your opportunities; and if you do wrong, don’t stay a fool – change direction.
One sad reality in the news is when clean riders are teams are trashed because of one doper. In the past, teams prepared for events but were unable to race because of actual bad behavior or public image. So heads up – don’t be a fool! Choose to affiliate not only based on competitiveness, successful management, and program efficacy, but on how the association will be perceived. Birds of a feather flock together, and the peloton has a number of dirty birds. But there are some eagle aces out there who are genuine in their pursuit of both excellence and goodness.
Decide wisely which culture and sponsorship suits your image. But do your homework, not every team with a bad apple is rotten. So often we think any opportunity is a good opportunity. Choose the best over the good, and often the best is found by looking a little deeper while noting public opinion and past moral record. People can change. Things are not always as they seem; get your facts straight. You don’t need to be anybody’s fool.
Prayer for Public Image
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 41 Thessalonians 5:22
We are thankful that with increasing worldwide interest in cycling now more than ever success depends upon image. We confess our map of Main Street has some dirty alleys. We ask for swept streets to stay on Clean Boulevard.
Ponder Do I consider how my associations appear to others? Affirm I choose what is allowed and also what is advisable. Watch for scenarios that may not best present you: protect your public image.
*My apologies to David Clinger. He may be a great guy but you wouldn’t know it from this image. Still appearances can be deceptive, so I give him the benefit of the doubt now or perhaps in the future.
3“Beyond Sport!” by Hans Rey on “How to become a Pro” posted on www.hansrey.com
Hans does indeed walk the walk of smart exposure with TV work, publicity stunts, riding clinics, photo shoots, Hans Rey Adventure Team trips, marketing consulting and providing bikes to people in third world countries in need of transportation. I suspect Hans Rey has a very good heart – but this is a public perception and my opinion.
4Holy Bible, King James Version public domain