The ‘paw’ is the biggest brand in college football


Clemson football brand is bigger than ever and growing faster than anyone could ever have imagined.

The 2021 Clemson football roster consists of athletes from across the globe and the Tigers seemingly have pipelines from the four best states for college football prospects – California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida.

Amid all the conference expansion talks, SEC Networks Paul Finebaum once again had the Tigers on his mind. For a guy that is paid as much as he is to talk about the SEC, he sure does spend a lot of time talking about and worrying about Clemson football.

That alone should tell you how well the brand behind the Tiger paw is doing.

Clemson football has grown into a force the SEC never wanted to see

When Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney speaks, everyone stops to hear what he says, everyone. Usually, they do it in order to misquote him or chide him but nevertheless, they stop what they are doing and he is the most trending story on social media, Google, and sports outlets.

Kirby Smart, Ryan Day, Lincoln Riley, nor any other coach across the country have that same effect – including Nick Saban.

Sure, those coaches are quoted every now and then, but Dabo trends in February when no one is paying attention to college football – that is the power behind the paw. No matter how badly media, fans, or coaches bad-mouth Swinney or Clemson football, elite recruits around the country want to be part of what is happening in the sleepy South Carolina town because of the branding behind the Tigers.

There are nine signs that you have a strong brand and Clemson football checks off all nine of them:

You have strong brand awareness with your target audienceYour brand is distinctive, unique and memorablePeople know exactly what you do, who you serve and what you believeYou’re attracting just the right customersYour brand accurately reflects your culture and visionYour customers aren’t just loyal, they are raving fansYour employees are your biggest advocatesPeople are excited to be affiliated with your organizationYou have a consistent brand image

When you look at Clemson football, all nine of those signs could not be truer about the brand that Coach Swinney has spent more than a decade refining and building.

ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Charlotte for the UGA game to start the season. According to Tim Bourret, this will be the 21st time that ESPN has chosen a Clemson football game as their game-day site since 2015 – they don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to broadcast from sites featuring a team with a poor brand.

In addition to the love affair with Coach Swinney, Clemson football is among the most followed college football team on social media and that alone shows how strong the brand is.

Regardless of what happens with the ACC over the next five years, the brand of Clemson football isn’t going anywhere, and to say otherwise is nonsensical and you are projecting your insecurities about your own program and not what is actually happening in Tiger town.



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