Karam Advises Athletes on Personal Branding

Tommy Karam discussing personal branding.

Tommy Karam discussing personal branding.

October 21, 2016

BATON ROUGE - Tommy Karam wears many hats at LSU. He is a senior instructor in the E. J. Ourso College of Business Flores MBA Program, the Department of Marketing and the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute. Perhaps he is best known, however, in larger circles as the personal media trainer to the LSU Tiger Football team.

In this role, Karam works with both current Tigers and those who have gone on to the professional ranks to help them present themselves properly to the media and the public. Most college athletes are uncomfortable or unused to having a microphone thrust in front of them. Additionally, in the world of 24/7 news cycles and social media, the chances of saying or doing something that could be damaging to one's "personal brand" are increased.

Enter Karam.

"On the Forbes list of the most valuable college football programs in America, LSU is No. 3," Karam tells a group of LSU Football players. "The value is astronomical. It means people like you; people watch you.

"Who wants to leave here with your brand tarnished? If that happens, pro scouts, owners and coaches will wait longer to draft you and employ you. If you end up working outside of football and your brand is good through the way you handled the incredible exposure you had, employers are able to see you in a positive way."

To ensure this, Karam preaches his "golden rule" of personal branding - managing one's expressions. 

"Images of you (in other people's minds) are created in 1/24th of a second," Karam says, "so it's important that you find your default look and tweak it to be neutral - not too angry and not too happy."

To hear more from Karam, watch a recent presentation on Louisiana Public Broadcasting's News Makers.

Angela McBride
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business