Legend hangs up boots - How Asamoah Gyan built eternal brand legacy
Probably one of the most celebrated Ghanaian footballers of the last decade, Asamoah Gyan, announced his retirement via press statement on June 20, 2023.
Interestingly, Hinson et al., (2010) argued in the article “The FIFA World Cup and Sponsorship in Ghana: Some Expert Views” that the Black Stars’ participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup had improved the attractiveness of football to the public,” which needs to be built on.
The Ghanaian Star of the FIFA 2010 World was undoubtedly Asamoah Gyan, and his memorable quarterfinal penalty miss is still the subject of many debates to date.
In December 2022, a Pulse Sports article (https://www.pulse.com.gh/sports/football/asamoah-gyans-2010-world-cup-jersey-preserved-in-fifa-museum/6cz7emc) reported that the jersey worn by Asamoah Gyan during the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal game against Uruguay has been preserved at the FIFA museum, thereby fossilising his legendary status.
So, although Asamoah Gyan has retired at 37, his legacy will long outlive him because of four critical reasons I label the 4Ps of Personal Brand Marketing Success.
Asamoah Gyan’s product, place, promotion and people management achievements constitute the marketing pillars that will eternally seal his legacy.
The Asamoah Gyan is a cross sector and highly internationalised product.
From a cross sector standpoint, football player, business entrepreneur and music maker and from global product standpoint he has played for football clubs spanning several continents.
His playing career spanned stints with clubs like Liberty Professionals (Ghana), Udinese (Italy), Rennes (France), Sunderland (UK), and Al Ain (UAE), to name a few.
In an article entitled “Asamoah Gyan: The Sunderland cult hero turned singer, entrepreneur and tennis player” (https://www.goal.com/en-gh/news/asamoah-gyan-singer-entrepreneur-tennis-player/blt30dc3ed5c5bc196b), the writers argue that Gyan has his finger in just about every pie in Ghana, with multiple businesses from boxing promotion and petrol stations, to drinking water and instant noodles.
They argue further that the striker's most famous extra-curricular activity has been his music career, and he has recorded three albums with hiplife musician Castro and the single ‘African Girls’, released at the height of his career in August 2010, was a hit.
In recognition of his business prowess and commercial acumen, Gyan was a speaker at the recently held 30th Afriexim Bank meetings in Accra, where he spoke on “Sport as a New Creative Industry Opportunity for Inclusive Growth: Insights from a Professional”.
He launched his memoir, " LeGYANdry" at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra on June 20, 2023.
The place dimension of the Gyan football brand speaks to how widely the Gyan brand has been distributed during his football career.
Gyan has played local league football in Ghana, Italy, France, UK) and the UAE.
He has also played continental football at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012, in global competitions like the Olympics in 2004, and the World Cup in 2010.
Gyan has also been top goal scorer for Al Ain in 2011 and the 2013–14 league season, Gyan finished top scorer for a record third time, with 29 goals in 26 matches.
The global reach of his career is unparalleled in Ghanaian football, and he also remains the all-time leading goal scorer of the Ghana national team, with 51 goals.
Again, with six goals, he is the top African goal scorer in the history of the World Cup.
With a Twitter following of 1.1 million, 1.7 million Instagram followers and a quarter of a million on Facebook, it is fair to say that the Asamoah Gyan brand is a well communicated brand.
He has granted interviews to continental news outlets like Supersport in South Africa and to global news leaders like BBC in the United Kingdom.
Asamoah Gyan, was also a SuperSport pundit during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, was before working for the leading sports outlet as a pundit for SuperSport TV during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Several local and international footballers have all mentioned Gyan as their role model. Edwin Gyasi, a Black Stars midfielder, avers that Gyan is his role model and Bournemouth striker Antoine Semenyo has disclosed his ambitions of reaching the heights Asamoah Gyan chalked up with the Black Stars of Ghana (https://sportsbrief.com/football/37969-afc-bournemouth-striker-antoine-semenyo-dreams-ghana-legend-asamoah-gyan/).
At the launch of his memoir, " LeGYANdry", continental football icons like 2001 African footballer of the year, El Hadji Diouf, Kalilou Fadiga; togolese striker, Emmanuel Adebayor; as well as local legends like African footballer of the year, Abedi Ayew Pele; former Black Stars captain, Stephen Appiah; Anthony Baffoe, John Paintsil, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, all graced the occasion (https://sportsbrief.com/football/16144-ex-footballers-storm-asamoah-gyans-legyandary-book-launch/).
In the light of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the state of sport development in Ghana and Africa as a whole, there are four main ways the Gyan brand will stay relevant for a long time to come.
First, sports as a component of Africa’s creative economy will be given great boost with the continued involvement of Gyan in sports business investments and the grooming of the next generation of Ghanaian footballers.
Second, the Gyan brand will continue to evoke positive images for Ghana and Africa, and therefore, serve as a continuing far-reaching boost to the development of Brand Ghana and Brand Africa.
Third the Gyan brand is a model for African youth who want to attain economic empowerment and global relevance. On an African continent where unemployment remains a major challenge, young boys and girls who find themselves in local football academies can always fall on the Gyan rags to riches story to global heights and football superstardom.
Finally, the all-round charisma, iconic dance moves and famous World Cup penalty miss will ensure that Gyan remains an eternal gift to the footballing world, in terms of a football package that was titillating and heartbreaking in equal measure, but that will never be forgotten in respect of its unique value proposition.