As Vicki Wong, President & CEO of DAE Advertising, a leading Asian American agency whose clients include Southwest and Well Fargo noted, "the Asian American community in the United States possesses certain values which are: Religion, Education, and being a solid citizen, not only does Jeremy possess all of those but he appears to come from the "Asian Dream" — Harvard educated, a rare combination of brains and brawn. He's a wonderful role model for Asian Americans, especially among the young."
Lin's agent, Roger Montgomery, of Montgomery Sports Group was quick to state that the Knicks point guard is "Definitely looking to align with an Asian American brand or sponsor that represents the same kind of things [he] represents: relentlessness, hard work, tenacity, and the underdog mentality." A nugget for Lin and his potential sponsors to look at: The Asian American community is a large, affluent, educated market more effectively reached in their own language. Seventy-seven percent of Asian American's speak a language other than English in the home, compared to 22 percent of the rest of the United States' population. Furthermore, the average Asian American household earns around 18,000 dollars more in income per year, and spends around 7,000 more dollars than the average American household.
Currently, Lin's only top level endorsement deal is a shoe contract with Nike. This is great news for Montgomery, considering that his phone is ringing off the hook with potential endorsement and marketing opportunities for his client. Montgomery does not have to worry about any type of previous exclusivity sponsor provisions that another athlete in Lin's position might be faced with. One company that is sure to be keeping a close watch on Lin and any potential future endorsements: Li-Ning. The major Chinese athletic company which makes athletic shoes and sporting goods has been proactive in making an imprint in the United States.
One can bet that if Lin keeps this level of play up, he will be heavily featured on Knicks marketing collateral and a welcomed guest on the New York talk show circuit once the season ends. Watching interviews during Lin's short time with the Knicks it is apparent that he is extremely well spoken. Any corporate sponsor will be enthralled with Lin's ability to present its brand to consumers in a fantastic light, and do it in a genuine, meaningful way.
Don't be surprised if Lin lands a significant endorsement deal soon. Although, you can bet that Montgomery and Lin will be very careful in crafting a marketing portfolio that aligns well with Lin's values and educational background. A Fortune 500 company that has significant ties, or is looking to establish ties, in the Asian American market would be an ideal fit. Categories that could be first on Lin's list: Financial, Food, Auto and Education.
A corporate sponsor that aligns with Lin now could see tremendous return on investment, especially when one considers that buying power of the Asian American community is expected to reach $775 billion by 2015, and the Asian American market already out shines the economies of all but 21 countries.
Thirty-five days ago Lin jokingly tweeted "Every time I try to get into Madison Square Garden, the security guards ask me if I'm a trainer." That surely won't be happening anymore.