There was a time when winning was enough. Not anymore! As an athlete,
coach or sports executive, performance on and off the track, field, court
or course draws fans and loses them, creates sponsorship value and wipes
it out. Standout communication skills project charisma, and in turn, reaps
more significant endorsements and business opportunities. Today, fans
judge sports celebrities according to how they perform in competition.
They judge you as a person according to how you perform with the media.
After nearly a decade as an award-winning television anchor, reporter and talk show host, Kathleen Hessert changed competitive arenas. She took her ability to ask tough questions and put it to work for those on the receiving end.
Since 1989, Hessert has been media and speech coach to Olympic gold medalists and college gridiron greats, to those in the ranks of the NBA and the PGA. Race car drivers, bull riders and tennis pros are among the many who have sought her counsel in learning how to excel in the increasingly important arena of public opinion and reputation management.
Says Hessert, "For today's athlete, coach, or sports executive, winning isn't enough. The stakes have risen considerably, and so has the scrutiny on every aspect of their lives. Those who excel as communicators distinguish themselves from the rest." Hessert’s answer: Sports Media Challenge, a nationally renowned consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2004, Hessert launched SMC’s Digital Media & Fan Engagement division with the introduction of Buzz Manager™, a proprietary search engine which mines, monitors and analyzes internet word-of-mouth conversations. Buzz Manager™ provides clients with in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of online conversations about their brand and relevant issues.
Hessert has also authored an interactive social media glossary of terms: “Winning Fans Through Social Media,” as well as user guides for rapidly-growing social media: Twitter 101,Twitter Best Practices, and Facebook 101. Hessert’s social media expertise gained international acclaim with the launch of NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter. Her strategies resulted in Shaq’s gaining 3 million Twitter followers around the globe. Sports Media Challenge also entered into a partnership with ESPN to create a daily feature called “BlogBuzz” on their premiere show “SportsCenter.” BlogBuzz powered by Buzz Manager™ was the first such feature to showcase the voice of fans through blogs.
Clients have included Madison Square Garden properties, the Texas Rangers, the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, The PGA TOUR, Super Bowl MVPs Peyton and Eli Manning, and NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon. Hessert also works extensively at the collegiate level with, among others, the Universities of Notre Dame, Penn State, Texas, Tennessee, Auburn and Virginia.
Hessert is the author and voice of "Winning the Media Game: A Guide for NFL Players," "Power Training: How to Win the Media Game," and “The Coach's Communication PlayBook." She is on the Advisory Board of The Foundation For Tomorrow (501c3) a non-profit organization providing education for orphaned and abandoned children in Africa. She is also the recipient of the prestigious CSP, Certified Speaking Professional designation, the highest earned designation of the National Speakers Association.
Joshua Baer, Chief Technology Consultant
Recognized on the national and international scene as an online marketing
guru, Josh Baer joined Sports Media Challenge as CTC in early 2005 and as
a principal in the company's latest advancement and sister firm- .
Recognizing the growing impact of Internet communications in the sports
arena, Josh joined forces with Sports Media Challenge to lead the
development and provide technical direction for the company's leading-edge
Internet communication and branding service- Buzz Manager. The first of its
kind dedicated solely to the sports marketplace, Buzz Manager provides
reputation management and rumor control through use of a proprietary
search engine for online businessn intelligence regarding sports brands
and issues. The proprietary tooln combined with the best in sports public
relations expertise monitors, measures and analyzes brand or issue "buzz"
then accurately presents the results in time saving, easy-to-use reports
for marketing and public relations needs. Josh guides all ongoing search
engine and other technical development to ensure that Buzz Manager remains
the leading such service in the sports marketplace.
Josh grew his email marketing solutions company, SKYLIST, from a dorm
room dotcom at Carnegie Mellon University to a privately-owned,
profitable company and a leader in the email space. In addition to his
CEO role at SKYLIST, Josh is Co-chair of the ESPC Technology Committee,
keeping his finger on the pulse of current hot topics. In his roles
with ESPC and as a contributing analyst with Ferris Research, he has
authored documents and whitepapers on authentication and reputation
systems, as well as a testing tool for companies to test their
compliance with authentication standards.
Josh currently resides in Austin, Texas with his dog, Jasmine.