With Super Bowl XLVI decided and the 2011 football season relegated to the record books, we are still talking about the emergence of Tim Tebow as a professional quarterback and team leader.
His sometimes controversial and often inspiring double dedication to football and to Christianity sparked admiration, discomfort and curiosity. In the macho, win-at-all-costs world of professional sports, the vision of Tebow down on one knee after each game thanking Jesus for letting him play football placed a new term in our vocabulary, the "Tebow."
Whether you're a Tim Tebow fan, a skeptic, or someone who doesn't pay much attention to football, we can all learn a lot about leadership and branding from this young quarterback. If we equate Tim Tebow to a brand, we discover that knowing who you are as a brand, staying true to your beliefs in spite of controversy, maintaining a positive point of view and focusing on using your brand's value are good business (or good football).
1. A strong brand is built on a clear sense of direction and common goals shared by staff and management. In marketing planning we often talk about the need for a shared vision and common goals to propel a company forward. The Denver Broncos showed how a shared vision and belief in each other turned a mediocre football team into a contender.
2. Controversy, when managed in a positive way, can create an opportunity to educate the market about the brand. Some pundits were unnerved at the site of the Denver quarterback doing his one-knee "Tebow." Instead of being offended by their attitudes, Tim Tebow took those opportunities to acknowledge the skepticism and accept other points of view, without altering his own sense of devotion. That confidence helped inspire confidence in the Broncos brand.
3. A brand can't expect the marketplace to place trust in it until it trusts itself to deliver on its promises. The Denver Broncos with Tim Tebow's leadership were a team whose players came to trust each other to deliver. They inspired each other to a new level of performance and confidence, because together they believed they could win. That winning attitude creates the kind of culture that pushes brands to the forefront of their industries.
4. A strong brand can be a powerful force for good in the marketplace and in the community. This is a message the credit union industry is constantly trying to send. Tim Tebow isn't just a gifted athlete who is a good football player. He is a good person who uses his fame as a positive force to help others. Credit unions can benefit from educating the market to their brand values.
The next time you wonder what it takes to make your credit union competitive, think of the Broncos. It didn't take years of programs and processes. It didn't take an infusion of cash. It took strong, positive leadership and a shared winning attitude to take Denver into the post-season.
And that's something any credit union that's made it this far through the new economy can accomplish.
Paul J Lucas is a national & international branding/marketing consultant. For more information log on to www.PaulJLucas.com or email email@example.com.