Remember the Tennessee Titans? Branding 101


Lets say you were walking through the cereal isle of a grocery store, and came across a plain white box that just said…Corn Flakes. You flip the box over and nothing. No pictures…no logos. Even if you liked the price, what would be the chances of you buying that cereal?

Minimal at best.

You would likely spend a little more money on a brand that you’re familiar with…however you became familiar with it.

Like it’s breakfast counterpart, the NFL is also a product for consumption. And as it stands today, the Tennessee Titans are that plain white box.

Look no further than last year’s lone Monday Night Football appearance. The Titans were hosting the Steelers, but all of ESPN’s promos leading up to the game exclusively featured Pittsburgh…and their stars.

Looking at last year’s roster…no one can blame ESPN. Especially that late in the season.

Most fans are savvy enough to understand that there will be ebbs and flows, highs and lows, when it comes to following their team. Especially the ones that have followed their team for a decade or more.

Titans fans that have been around since the team arrived in 1999 understand. They’ve seen the team cycle through great success, losing seasons, and back again. But all of those teams had an identity, a modus operandi.

A brand.

Those teams had something to hang their hat on…something to build on. Something that told their fans that we are the Titans…and this is what we do….win or lose.

Whether it be the ground and pound era from the glory days, the Air McNair passing game era, or the smash and dash era brought in by Chris Johnson, Tennessee went into every offseason trying to build on that identity. Bringing in free agents and draft picks to compliment the vision.

Thus, branding themselves as a blue collar…roll up the sleeves…and slug it out for 60 minutes type of team. Fans bought into the vision. They also continued to support, and sell out the stadium through the highs and lows.

Then…in one season…it was all obliterated.

Chris Johnson, the team’s only nationally recognized player, was released. The 4-3 defense was thrown out, and coach Munchak was sent packing.

Even in the midst of change, fans were still excited at the opportunity for a makeover.

That is…until the season started.

In his first season as head coach, Ken Whisenhunt failed to establish anything…on either side of the ball. The Titans couldn’t run the ball or stop the run…score tds or stop them…pass the ball effectively or…you get the idea.

At the end of the season, fans could not definitively say that Tennessee did anything well. We’re not a run first team or a passing team. On the other side of the ball we’re not a bend but don’t break…or a blitz happy defense.

Are we aggressive? Preferring to stretch the ball down the field? Or do we prefer to play it close to the vest, and give our kicker a chance to win it at the end?

Who are the Titans? What is our game plan?

What is our brand?

This is entertainment after all, and Nashvillians must decide the best way to divvy up their disposable income. Why should they spend their hard earned money at LP Field?

This is a critical season, and not just for coach Whisenhunt, but for the entire Titans organization.

The NFL lifted it’s blackout rule for the upcoming season. The blackout rule was implemented to ensure that fans packed the stadium. If the home team didn’t fill their stadium to a certain capacity, then the game would not be shown in the local viewing area.

Why is that important to the Titans and their branding?

It puts even more pressure on the franchise to enhance the stadium experience. And you don’t accomplish that with a new Titan-Burger and scoreboard. You do that by bringing in players that are worth the price of admission.

You establish a brand, an identity for your team that is worth the price of admission.

Luckily for coach Whiz and the Titans, they are in a prime position to do just that in less than a month. Tomorrow, we will conclude this series with a look at Tennessee’s options…and the best way to brand them.

Next: Tennessee Titans: right place...right time

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