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The Women's Sports Alliance


How Serena Williams Build A Grand Slam Personal Brand

Serena Williams sat at the peak of on court performance, but also built an impressive personal brand. Whether it’s being inclusive, going natural, breaking the rules, advocating for everyone, or amplifying others’ stories, Serena’s brand has lessons for female athletes everywhere.


Serena has created clothing collections for both Nike and HSN in the past, but recently launched her own clothing line called “Serena,” with a mission of inclusion. Whether it’s creating pieces at varying price points or photographing her clothingon bodies of varying shapes and sizes, she has placed an emphasis on making sure all people feel included and represented by her brand. Thinking about how everyone can be included is not just the right thing to do, it also helps her brand have the broadest possible appeal to the largest possible audience.

Go Natural

Serena knows the power of showing up as your authentic self, as she did for a 2019 Harper’s Bazaar cover completely unretouched. The vulnerability of being confident in your brand without hiding the imperfections holds great appeal in the modern era. Audiences can sense anything airbrushed to inauthenticity, whether it is an Instagram photo or a brand crisis.

Break The Rules

Serena’s fashion choices on the court have always been the subject of scrutiny, but never more so than when she showed up at The French Open wearing a skin-tight black compression catsuit. Despite the controversy the catsuit caused, Serena bravely showed up at The Australian Open wearing another catsuit, stating that they were designed to help prevent blood clots that she has frequently suffered from. Her rule-breaking fashion choices not only elevated her personal brand, but also helped the dress code rules updated by The Women’s Tennis Association.

Advocate for Yourself and Others

In 2017, Serena gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, and nearly died from complications during the experience. Her fierce self-advocacy likely saved her life, and she used the experienceto speak aboutthe racial inequality in childbirth outcomes and the dangers of maternal mortality. In doing so, she breathed new life into a public policy issue in need of support and elevated her own standing as a serious advocate for public health.

Amplify the Story of Others

Serena makes an effort to amplify the stories of others who need to be heard, whether it is mothers experiencing childbirth complications or her clothing brand’s#BeSeenBeHeardcampaign that asks others what “S” means to them. The campaign asks others to share what their “S” word is and what it symbolizes, and it shares stories of others’ strength, survival, and sisterhood. Serena understands that sometimes the best way to build your own brand is to elevate others.

Goldie Chan, Via Forbes.


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