Medea Inc., a market leader in Bluetooth technology product integration and owner of a line of vodka, has signed former NBA star and current commentator Shaquille O'Neal (Shaq) as its new Tech Advisor. This means that Shaq will be closely collaborating with Medea's CEO, Brandon Laidlaw in developing new tech and exposure for the brand as it grows into lifestyle products.
You would pay Shaq money to block shots and chime in with humorous takes, but why offer compensation in exchange for his advice on how to turn a tech company focused on vodka to one engaged with other types of products?
Medea Inc.'s strategy to bring in Shaq actually makes sense.
There is certainly a level of sizzle attached to adding Shaq into the company's fold, but it also makes sense from a larger strategy play. Shaq has actually made a name for himself as one of the largest names in sports technology and social media applications.
"His enthusiastic affinity for new and upcoming technology along with his intuitive knowledge within the world of social media pairs perfectly with Medea Inc.'s platform," explained Laidlaw. "Medea Inc. aims to create experiences with everyday products that were once ordinary and bring them to life both in person and on the digital side. Shaquille's participation on the Medea Technology Advisory Committee will bring his vast experience to the table enabling him to contribute creative new ideas to a company focused on integrating its technology with mobile applications."
Shaq has been ranked as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company, with the publication noting that he was an early Twitter adopter and Google investor. In fact, Shaq was one of the first celebrities to become verified on Twitter and remains one of the most followed American athletes on the platform.
Tapping into an individual's social media profile has become increasingly important.
Medea Inc. makes it clear that it is in love with Shaq's social following and plans to exploit it for further growth.
"A person of Shaquille's respected stature will provide a benefit to any company with which he is affiliated, as his accomplishments both on the court and in business are insurmountable. With millions of social media followers, an icon such as Shaquille will attract an entirely new audience to our brand. Thus far Medea Inc.'s organic growth in the market has been an exciting journey, our partnership with Shaquille O'Neal puts us on the map as we start to expand our product line and presence in the market," said Laidlaw.
Medea Inc. launched its brand only 2 years ago with a vodka product that includes its patented LED display technology. The brand is now being sold in over 40 states as well as Canada and Europe. Shaq is seen as an endorser who may be able to take the brand to a new level.
How does this fit within Medea Inc.'s overall strategy for growth?
Medea Inc. has secured 9 patents, with over 200 claims, on its Bluetooth technology integration and mobile App.
"As Medea was the first to market with this type of technology in the spirits world we are looking to capitalize on the continued growth and brand recognition to develop future applications for our patented technology. It is our intention to grow the Medea brand's presence in the consumer product market," said Laidlaw.
If brand recognition is the key for growth at this point, then the selection of Shaq does not seem to be a bad strategic move for the young company.