Tebow’s Super Stance

You either love him or you hate him… Sorry Columbus, Ohio but I love him – well, I love what he stands for anyhow. Tim Tebow was in the news again today, but it had nothing to do with his draft status. Tebow made the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption for his Right-to-Life support stance in an advertisement for the upcoming SuperBowl. The Focus on the Family campaign features Tebow and his mother in an ad supporting Mrs. Tebow’s decision to not follow Doctor’s advice and keep her son despite medical risks. This is a sports marketing discussion so I’m choosing not to get into that topic, but maybe we can learn a thing or two about building a brand from Tim Tebow. Everyone in my industry seems to have an opinion regarding how to build a brand; and everyone coincidentally wants to tell others how to do it and why their particular way is superior. As I watched and listened to Wilbon and Kornheiser discuss Tebow’s controversial stance, I was leaving the locker room at my gym and realized that Tim Tebow didn’t care one way or the other what ESPN, the general public, or any political party thought of his stance. Tebow is a man of veracity. His integrity and character speak for itself and what you see is what you get from him.

In sports it is natural to pick popular athletes and like them or dislike them for various reasons. When I was a kid, I liked Walter Payton from the Chicago Bears because he played the game the way I thought it should have been played. Walter never ran out of bounds when the defense was coming after him; he faced his attackers head-on and worked to get every possible yard for his team. As I got older and became a team member, my pet peave was guys avoiding contact and going out of bounds instead of trying for that extra yard. I think the core reason I respect Tim as much as I do is because he is a tough guy. He plays the game the way it is meant to be played and he leaves everything on the field for his team. That’s a teammate.

You know what you are getting from Tim Tebow and as a consumer you want that same trust in a brand. Consumers have options when it comes to choosing a product, and as marketers, its our responsibility to evangelize consumers to choose our brand over our competition. One way to ensure consumers will choose your brand is to create a sense of trust between your brand and your consumer. The same way Tim Tebow’s teammates are confident that he is going to be the leader of their football team, consumers not only need but deserve that same sense of confidence in your brand or service to meet their expectations. Without consumer trust, your brand is susceptible to scrutiny and negative buzz. The negativity that surrounds a brand or an athlete are equal in the sense that their actions create the same type of person to person conversational buzz. Whether that buzz is negative or positive is in the positioning of each. Tim Tebow positions himself with the moral fiber of Christianty and personal devotion to his religion. It’s authentic, it’s definable, and it’s believable. Is your brand sending the same loud and clear message?

Ordinarily I don’t recall SuperBowl ads after a few days, and they have never convinced me to purchase a product, but all the buzz around this year’s Tim Tebow ad just might prove me wrong. Good for you Tim Tebow. I’m buying your brand.

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