The Power of a nickname

The Ryder Cup saw victory for Europe, and following Ian Poulter’s celebrations in a post box costume, we were reminded of the power of nicknames in sport.

Nicknames give us a chance to lighten the mood and show people that we’re up for a laugh, and so when we see influential people embracing their given nicknames it is strangely comforting to see. Nicknames are useful in all aspects of life; from building cohesion among employees and being the source of some good laughs to making someone in the public eye seem more personable, as a nickname tends to say, “I know this person”.

Sport is inherently social and lends itself to discussion via social media. It’s, therefore, a brilliant platform for sports organisations and athletes to communicate with fans and leverage nicknames, consequently enhancing the ultimate value and recognition of a sports person across social channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Often, nicknames can be used so frequently that people can barely remember what a person’s real name is, or maybe you’ve never known it. Ultimately, nicknames are an effective way to make a person seem both more personable and memorable and they can, therefore, be a powerful tool in PR.

We had a look at some of the most memorable nicknames in professional sport.

Ian Poulter “The Postman”

Poulter’s nickname comes from his ability to consistently deliver points for his side in one of golf’s most revered competitions, The Ryder Cup. This year, Poulter needed a wildcard from Europe’s captain Thomas Bjorn to be in France at all, he was benched for the opening fourballs on Friday and even hit his first tee shot straight into the water on Friday afternoon.

Of course, when it really mattered, Poulter came through in one of the most dramatic of Sunday’s singles matches, and delivered to win two up against Dustin Johnson, living up to his nickname “The Postman”.

Andrew Flintoff “Freddie”

Andrew Flintoff got the nickname “Freddie” because his surname is similar to that of Fred Flintstone. “Freddie” has stuck so well that many wouldn’t even realise his real name is Andrew (including myself!).

Flintoff has gone on to write several books including; Being Freddie and Freddie.

David Beckham “Golden Balls”

Back in 2001, Victoria Beckham made a comment which was the start of an incredibly famous nickname for her husband, David Beckham.

She revealed that following the way he’d turned his image around after being sent off at the 1998 World Cup, she’d called him “Golden Balls”.

Since Victoria famously referred to David as “Golden Balls” it seems that he has had the Midas touch both on and off the football pitch.

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17 years ago today WOW .. @england

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Usain Bolt “Lightning Bolt”

It comes as no surprise that Bolt’s nickname comes from a combination of his name and speed. Alongside his nickname comes his popular lightning bolt pose which he uses both before races and in celebration.

What people might be less aware of is the meaning of his signature pose which is said to come from Jamaican tourism “To Di World” meaning “to the world”.

A PR agency can help you use the right methods to engage with the right audience helping you create and implement a communications strategy for your business and brand. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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