Football & Branding – A Match Made in Challenger Brand Heaven

Football & Branding – A Match Made in Challenger Brand Heaven

The end of another football season has just been marked with the completion of last Sunday’s big game. Watching the colorful pageantry that is professional football played on the global stage, we are reminded how well the sport gets branding. Beyond the stereotypes developed over the years by the individual clubs, that may or may not be based in reality (not all Raiders are roughnecks, not all Eagles boo Santa, not all Packers wear cheese on their heads…), football teams know how to succinctly communicate their brands through dynamic graphic imagery plastered on everything from T-Shirts to sippy cups.

This got us thinking, Challenger Brands could learn a thing or two from football. For many of our client symposiums, we use an exercise that helps organizations reassess their position, message and overall brand look. Here’s how it works…

Gather a team of brand leaders and hand each one a sheet of paper with a blank fooball helmet and a banner beneath. Explain to the participants that their company now has a professinal football team and they are charged with naming it. What is the most representative mascot for your organization? Are you fast and sleek like a cheetah? Slow and methodical like an elephant? Are you powerful and shocking like lightening or steady and relentless like a storm? Is your mascot human, animal, natural disaster?

Direct the participants to create their team logo on the helmet template and be prepared to defend their recommendations. Would they choose to use illustrations (like Broncos, Seahawks, Lions, etc,), wordmarks (like 49ers, Giants, Jets, etc,), symbolism (like Cowboys, Rams, Saints, etc.), or something more abstract (like Bengals or Browns)?

In the blank banner, have the leaders write in a team battle cry. Common amongst college football programs, the battle cry is the word or phrase that binds teammates, inspires success and is completely unique to you. USC’s “Fight On,” Auburn’s “War Eagle,” and Alabama’s “Roll Tide” are a few examples.

Upon completion, everyone will have effectively designed a new company logo and have written a tagline. These may not be quite ready for printing on business cards, but they should serve as excellent starting points for development.

If you would like some help conducting a football helmet branding exercise, please contact us at

Until next time…

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