Augusta’s PR firm breaks new ground in Maine seeking to help student-athletes build and market their brand

Kaylyn Bourque loves ice hockey so much that the 15-year-old wants to play as long as possible – and at the highest level.

Her father, Brian Bourque, worries that despite Kaylyn’s skills on the ice, it could be difficult for a player from Benton in Kennebec County to capture the attention of college coaches in her effort to play in a top college program. level, ideally with a scholarship.

He enlisted the help of Augusta-based public relations professional Greg Glynn’s new venture, which specializes in helping student-athletes establish their brand and market themselves.

“I really love hockey and I can’t imagine never playing it. If I had to stop playing hockey, I wouldn’t be very happy,” said Kaylyn Bourque, a standout player with the Winslow/Gardiner/Brewer/Messalonskee/Lawrence/Erskine Academy women’s cooperative hockey team.

Glynn, a former broadcaster and vice president of communications for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, launched a marketing, public relations and broadcast company, Foldable, in January, and plans to specialize in the image of brand of high school, college and professional athletes.

Prospects for representing and branding college athletes have increased dramatically in 2020 with the decision that colleges cannot prevent student-athletes from profiting from their own names, images and likenesses, and can enter into endorsement deals with enterprises.

While Glynn, 40, hopes to help college athletes build their brand and market themselves, including for sponsorship deals, her plans to help high school student-athletes, like Kaylyn Bourque, are more about helping them establish their brand and attract attention. colleges, not car dealerships seeking athletes to endorse used automobiles.

Greg Glynn, founder of Pliable, a new marketing, public relations and broadcast company in Augusta, at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It’s not something I want to get into. I would say there are a lot more high school athletes to focus on before we focus on endorsements,” Glynn said. “For high school students, I want to help give them the education, skills and tools to succeed at the next level.

“If I can tell the story of a kid who grew up playing hockey, in his back rink until 9 p.m., there’s a work ethic and a story to tell. Every athlete has a story, and I will help the athlete tell their story so that a coach sees that this kid has an amazing story and would add to the culture of our team.

Glynn offers student-athletes and their families a 10-step brand service manual, and customers can choose how many of these steps, each with a corresponding price, they want to purchase and use.

They start with four steps, at $500 each: Meeting with the athlete and their family to create an athlete profile; conduct research, including a review of their social media accounts and media coverage; create a biography; and the creation of a “message card” that identifies concise key points that student-athletes want to make to be used, potentially, as talking points with coaches, scouts, journalists and others.

Additional steps, which range from $1,000 to $2,000 each, include athlete logo design, media training, student-athlete video and photography, website design, managing and launching website content and measuring the impact of other milestones on their goals. . The 10 steps total $10,000.

Brian Bourque said he expects Glynn’s Athlete Playbook will help Kaylyn get the attention of Division 1 college coaches, who he hopes will check out a website and a logo. Glynn will help them grow and appreciate that she is someone who puts a lot of effort into what she does and is serious about playing Division I hockey.

“Athletes who live here in Maine are really isolated from the big cities and don’t have the opportunity to be seen by Division 1 coaches, so they need a little edge,” Brian Bourque said. “She’s been playing hockey since she was in second grade, so it’s an extreme passion for her, and you won’t find anyone who works harder than her.

“There is more to a person than statistics. We want to help him stand out from the competition, with all the packages Greg has put together for us.

Glynn said he was the first to specialize in Maine student-athlete branding and marketing.

John Lamb, president of the Maine Public Relations Council, said he was unaware of any other public relations firm specializing in this area. He said the rule change at the college level allowing amateur student-athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses is “a game changer for amateur athletes.”

Kaylyn Bourque is working on her hockey skills in January 2021 at her front yard rink in Benton. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel File

“This being a relatively new field, it’s always good to have someone with branding expertise to help an individual identify their voice and personal brand,” Lamb said. “It’s definitely an opportunity for practitioners and athletes. It’s exciting and it should be interesting to watch.

Glynn, who, while working for Augusta-based Nancy Marshall Communications, worked with Julia Clukey, a Cony High School graduate and retired Olympic sledger, when she was a spokesperson for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association, said he had developed an extensive network of contacts in the sport. industry. He also hosts The Athlete Brand Advisor podcast.

Glynn’s new venture will also work with businesses and organizations in the area. He said the Foldable name reflects the company’s ability to adapt and work with a wide range of customers and be flexible.

A bill proposed before the State Legislature, LD 1893, “An Act Respecting the Use of the Name, Image, Likeness, or Autograph of a Student Athlete”, was referred to the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and would prohibit colleges and universities from preventing a student athlete from earning money through the use of the name, image or likeness of the student-athlete.

Glynn said the proposed legislation is consistent with what other states have done and allows student athletes to build their brand and enjoy their name, image and likeness, “and that’s exactly where I can help them.”

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