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Social Media – Football – Brand and Ball Protection

I just had a great weekend of watching football.

  • It started out with the Green Bay Packers displaying absolute dominance against the Detroit Lions while they continued what seems to be an unstoppable quest for an undefeated season.
  • Then came the thriller with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Miami Dolphins as time expired.
  • Then came the Texas Longhorns “kicking the Texas Aggies to the SEC” with a winning field goal as time expired.
  • Not to be outdone, the Denver Broncos took it a step further and kicked their winning field goal in overtime against the San Diego Chargers on the Chargers home field. Time for Norv Turner to find a new job, I think.

It was while watching the Denver Broncos that I became inspired to write a blog post about brand and ball protection from a fumble standpoint (interceptions will come in a later post). Let’s look at some ball carriers…

NFL Ball protection and brand protection - don't fumble

Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 – 46 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

Ball carrier carrying ball in hand closest to tackler increases risk of getting ball stripped for a fumble.

Brand Protection
Leaving our brand exposed to attacks without appropriate monitoring and engagement can be game changing – for the worse!


Brand Protection and Football Protection

Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 – 76 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

Ball carrier is off-balance, and the ball drifts away from the body making it more susceptible to a fumble.

Brand Protection
Over-extending our brand promises or over-stating our capabilities leaves us vulnerable to a righteous and justified consumer backlash. Undersell and over-deliver!


Brand Protection and NFL ball carrying - shield the ball

James Starks 2011-1 by elviskennedy, on Flickr

Ball carrier shields the ball from the tackler by carrying the ball in his opposite arm. He can now use his body and extended arm for ball security.

Brand Protection
Each department within our organizations (marketing, customer service, product management) should take ownership for brand protection while playing to their strengths. These departments act as the body shielding the brand from attacks. Through a collaborative effort, these departments can determine which is most suited to actively reach out and extend assistance to the consumer with customer satisfaction and brand protection (and possible brand advocacy) in mind.


Rushing by sgrace, on Flickr

The ball carrier is getting ready to “run through traffic” where tackler(s) will attempt to dislodge the ball. He applies maximum ball security by keeping both hands on the ball. He doesn’t want an outstanding play to be nullified by losing possession of the ball to the opposing team.

Brand Protection
Reputations are built over years of good work and reputations can be destroyed in minutes with one bad YouTube video or caustic product review going viral. Ignoring or remaining ignorant of the danger does not make it go away. Monitor mentions of your brand, measure sentiment, and track trends. If sentiment trends negatively, or if a single incident provides enough explosive response, join the conversation immediately. While acknowledging the situation as quickly as possible, concurrently mobilize the appropriate resources within the company to devise the best strategy to defuse the situation and restore consumer confidence. Let Courtesy and Integrity rule the day…never spin it or get overly defensive.

I just finished reading Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard. I think he does a fantastic job explaining the importance of both (1) social media monitoring and (2) departments working collaboratively to support the entire organization’s goal of brand protection. Leave it to me to picture it in football terms ;). I do highly recommend you read this book if you are starting to outline your social media strategy and identify your resources to support that strategy.

Is your organization using social media monitoring yet? Are your departments working collaboratively, or do you feel your company is working in territorial silos? I would love to discuss in the comment section!

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Great blog!

    Do you mind if i borrow that book?

    • Well, this one is an eBook on my iPad, so harder to borrow. We can talk about some of this next time we get together. Meanwhile, you may want to start with the Social Media Bible and Social Media Marketing an Hour a Day to help you optimize your overall web presence. Social Media ROI definitely has great information on social media monitoring and collaborate efforts across the organization. It also talks about necessary soft skills when handling potentially inflammatory situations in the digital world. However, I’d start you out with a little coaching on the day-to-day engagement activities…and how to mix in content your users will trust and want to read along with marketing content.

      You already do a great job with your Black Belt Newsletters; however, that is limited to email. Time to expand to Facebook and Twitter, perhaps?

      • Great blog! I like the book! :o)
        -Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

        • Funny, Lon ;) Thanks for stopping by. I highly recommend your book to anyone who is looking at developing a social media strategy and want excellent examples/illustrations of the channels available to them.

          Stop by any time…

  2. Brian, I like this Teachable Point of View. Makes it easy to relate and understand.

    Thanks for writing this and for mentioning my Packers. Don’t forget the Badgers crushing Penn State. :-)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Aaron. I love the passionate fan, and you Packers fans have a lot to root about. That offense is so multi-faceted and powerful, and the defense is very opportunistic. Shame the Badgers under-performed this year because they could have had a shot at the national championship! Where were they in pre-season polls? Weren’t they top 5 for awhile?

  3. Brian, aloha. No doubt about it, you are brilliant. Your analogies make your points so obvious and easy to see.

    When the Bronocs won I thought for sure that would inspire a post. However, I see that while they won, your post was the cumulative effect of all the great games you watched. WOW! There must have been a lot of yelling and cheering going on in the Vickery home.

    While this may seem an odd comment, Brian, I have to tell you how easy your posts are to read. The way you lay them out and your selective highlighting makes a big, big difference in readability.

    Congratulations on your superb photo selection. Your photos perfectly illustrate your points.

    Brian, I feel compelled to share this everywhere. Thanks so much. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    • You are truly a natural cheerleader, Janet. I am glad you like the analogies. I know I probably limit my audience by choosing to write “sports” analogies, but it is the way my mind works a lot of time.

      Yes, it took painstaking research through at least 4 football games between Thursday and Sunday to make this post happen. Thanks to my lovely and patient wife :).

      I am glad you appreciate the selective highlighting. And per our earlier chat, I spent at least as long finding the right pictures as I did producing the content. I definitely seem to have a Broncos/Cowboys flair with this one…and yep, Tim Tebow seems to be leading the pack when I write about the NFL right now. I already have another post queued up where Tebow will again be a case study. However, he presents an abundance of blog topics because he is unorthodox while still having “It“.

      Thanks for stopping by, Janet. Until next time, Hook ‘Em ;)

  4. What’s football?

    • You are killin’ me, Bruce. Next Thanksgiving, hit the Vickery house…I’ll give you a crash course. And why those coaches and players do not listen to my calm instruction from my couch I have no idea?!? The world would be such a better place… ;)


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