Tim Tebow on Branding

I am at the same time amused and confused by the polarization created by Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback was a college football superstar at the University of Florida, but many experts felt his style of play was not suited to the pro game. Then, there is the issue of Tebow’s faith and the prominent role it has in his words and actions. It is too much for some people to bear who want sports to be devoid of any aspects of faith. His story continues to evolve as he has gone from third-string to the starting QB, leading the Broncos to seven wins in the last eight games. While many people are ecstatic about Tebow’s emergence as an NFL QB, it seems that many others cannot wait for him to fail.

This blog is not about sports; I will not be breaking down Tebow’s strengths and weaknesses on the field. However, I cannot help but see a teaching moment that relates to how businesses should view branding. Like him or hate him, Tim Tebow is grounded in values that define his purpose and meaning. To this point, he does not seem to have been affected by the trappings of the celebrity lifestyle lived by star pro athletes. His personal brand has remained consistent as his professional career has taken off.

Marketers can learn from Tim Tebow what branding is… and is not. Branding is a never ending pursuit- there really is no such thing as a “branding campaign” as that implies a beginning and end. Branding entails identifying and articulating meaning- the purpose, values, and core beliefs that drive day-to-day and long-term business decisions. A great brand remains true to purpose, values, and core beliefs even though economic conditions, technology trends, and customer tastes are evolving.

Marketing is important- research, design, advertising, and selling are vital to a firm’s success. But, branding transcends all of those activities. Without a great brand, marketing is little more than a functional area in an organization. The brand brings life and energy. Time will tell if Tim Tebow is a great “product” in terms of a successful NFL quarterback. But, it is clear that brand Tebow is on solid ground, which will serve him well far beyond his playing days.

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