My discussion section spent lots of time speaking about brands last week. From physically branding animals to the Jordan brand (as in Michael Jordan). It was an all-encompassing talk, but as we reached soccer, we touched on the idea of the Ronaldo brand versus the Messi brand.
I do not consider myself a soccer fanatic, so this post should be read with that in mind. I do, however, get Real Madrid notifications from the ESPN app on my phone. (I jumped on the Real Madrid ‘fan’ train two summers ago during my time in Spain and getting those notifications is a little piece of Madrid that makes me feel connected to it despite not being there)
I spent a fair amount of time pondering what I would write, knowing I wanted to talk about the idea of a personal brand. In a sports marketing class I’m in, we talk about the idea of like-ability and how that influences a brand.
Back to Ronaldo vs Messi. Last Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first athlete to surpass 200 million social media followers. So people must love him, right?
As I thought about this post on Saturday, my phone buzzed. 2:13 PM “La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo hits out at Real Madrid teammates after loss: ‘If they were all at my level we would be 1st'”. Whoa. So how could people like him? Seems pretty arrogant.
3:34 PM “La Liga: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo clarifies critical comments, says ‘I’m not better than any of my teammates'”. Huh. Is he the good guy recognizing his mistake or is he the bad guy just trying to save face?
So we compare stats between Ronaldo and Messi – there is in fact a site called messivsronaldo.net – it blew my mind that this exists. The two are extremely similar. So I went in a different direction – I tried to find statistics on Messi’s social media following and found that he doesn’t have a verified twitter to his name. For Ronaldo, 40.7 million of his followers come from Twitter. So I went and looked at Facebook and Instagram followings: 83.45 million and 109.76 million; 37.9 million and 50.3 million for Messi and Ronaldo respectively. So on the two social media platforms that both men use, Ronaldo ‘wins’ the battle of the number of followers. If Messi had a Twitter account would he be more ‘popular’? Probably not.
But the real question is does social media popularity equate to being well-liked? Is Ronaldo better liked than Messi? How can we find out?