With pre-season underway, our Purpose Practice Director, MJ Deery, recommends some serious changes to the NFL’s playbook in Adweek.
“Today’s consumers, especially younger audiences that represent the sport’s future, expect brands to stand for more than product and profit. Yes, even sports teams need values beyond winning.”
MJ goes on to share her POV on four things we should learn from the NFL’s missteps.
1. Consumers have no tolerance for lip service — In January, the league announced its “Let’s Listen Together” program, an $89 million seven-year initiative to support social, education and criminal justice reform, only to undo it with its anthem actions. Such a seismic shift between words and actions can call question to the NFL’s authenticity.
2. Brands must make room for diverse voices — Business leaders need to tap diverse perspectives across race, culture and gender in their workforce or risk sounding tone deaf.
3. Purpose requires the long game — Forward-thinking business leaders aren’t bandaging short-term injuries like the ratings drop and the president’s disparaging tweets at the expense of long-term brand health.
4. Attempts to silence voices often amplify them — Players took to Twitter to re-up their commitment to the cause. And owners like the New York Jets’ Christopher Johnson said they’ll cover fines for players who continue to kneel.
“The NFL anthem saga shows the perils for brands navigating our purpose-driven economy without clear, inclusive values. That said, the NFL still has time to make good on its promise to “Listen Together” and to use the league’s influence to fight systemic racism in a way that builds their business. I hope the NFL finds its way back to its social purpose, by the dawn’s early light.”
See MJ’s full article here and get yourself educated.