With her triumphant win at the Melbourne Cup yesterday, jockey Michelle Payne has become the hottest ticket in sports right now; in this opinion piece, Jill Stewart public relations and marketing director at Inside Out PR argues that brand Payne is going to be bigger than brand Hayne.
With the unfortunate sacking of Jarryd Hayne from the 49’ers this week – a success story that all Australian sports fans were hanging our hats on – we as a nation were in need of a new hero and we found one yesterday at the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Michelle Payne has not only given us our news stories for the next little while and no doubt as every media outlet, brand and feminist comes out of the woods to claim her as their own, she has given us another brand to follow.
Just like Jarryd Hayne, she should make ‘hay while the sun shines’ but she should be careful not to lose her integrity along the way. Everyone is going to want a piece of her and people are going to dig deep into her background to use whatever they can to find something good or bad on her. Just as much as Australian’s love a sporting hero, they love a tragedy.
We’ve seen it recently with the Jarryd Hayne phenomenon – Aussies love a sporting hero! We’ve also seen just how quickly they can fall from hero to zero in the eyes of the public and media and Michelle Payne should learn from the Jarryd Hayne situation.
Right now she needs good, trustworthy people around her that guide her into strategic decisions when it comes to working with media and brands. She should use her voice through selective partnerships as opposed to a splatter approach and stay true to herself.
She’s all over the media at the moment – and this will create a lot of interest in her, her family and female jockeys in this country (a relatively untouched subject) and she just needs to be careful. Played right, Michelle Payne could go down as one of Australia’s most influential sports people this country has ever seen – for all the right reasons.