Only The NFL Could Recover From This

By Dr. John Tantillo, - In Marketing

Picture of an NFL game

Photo Credit: The Brit_2

Moving forward in the 2014 winners and losers we get to loser number 3 The National Football League (NFL).


Brand Loser # Three
The National Football League (NFL)
The NFL is a brand loser for its handling of the Domestic violence incidents that have plagued players like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson. If there is anything that the NFL can teach us is how not to manage a brand crisis. Media types were quick to lay blame that resulted in major public relations gaffes that even the novice communicator would eschew. On the other side what the NFL did impart is how to build a brand so strong that even these seemingly aversive missteps can have little effect on TV viewership no matter what critics say.

The NFL has built this brand over time, first by creating the Super Bowl by making it an American holiday that almost everyone watches if not only for the game but for the commercials as well. By executing this seemingly benign tactic an event for everyone, the Super Bowl has shaped viewer behavior over time so that we can all appreciate this grand sport year after year. Talk about marketing!

When brands make mistakes, it is the Target Market who must decide whether it can live with the infraction. If there are two Target markets, the media and fans, for the NFL brand, then we have to say that the NFL has really failed as a brand to meets the needs of the professional journalist segment. The fan demographic is not so easy to assess. Fan decision making is visceral and based more on individual brand perception than corporate brand management. This means that People Buy Brands not Companies!” which translates into viewers caring more about their respective teams and favorite players than it does about the NFL. It is only when their favorite NFL teams and players make mistakes that the NFL Company Brand suffers.

So for this reason the NFL is not only a loser from a media perspective, but also a winner for maintaining market share and satisfying the need for providing their customers with exciting sports play (along with a popular yearly event, the Super Bowl) no matter what the critics say. And the lesson, worry about your customers and satisfy your customer’s needs and the hell with everyone else!

Branding Editor

Branding and Marketing Expert, Speaker, and teacher who writes about branding