prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Protecting the Brand

Posted by prof e on September 21, 2014

NFLShieldThe Broncos and Seahawks gave us a great game this afternoon. Millions tuned in to see the rematch of last year’s Superbowl, and this time it was a much more interesting affair. But if you’ve been paying attention to the news the past few weeks you know that the NFL is in the spot light…but not for the right reasons.

The PR debacle that has the media in an uproar didn’t start with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, nor will it end there. But eventually the media attention focused on NFL players behaving badly will come to an end because the NFL is first and foremost about money…and these momentary distractions, if left unchecked, will get in the way of making money and that would be (according to owners and league officials) an even greater problem than this current mess.

Anheuser-Busch spends upwards of $200M a year advertising on NFL broadcasts and have publicly said that they are “disappointed” in the NFL. That kind of money talks, and Commissioner Goodell is listening. That’s why Goodell made a public apology…or at least I think that’s what the press conference a few days ago was supposed to be. The top three rated TV programs last week were…you guessed it…Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football. As long as American continue to watch NFL broadcasts, and as long as advertisers pay big bucks to reach those viewers, the NFL will continue. Sure they’ll make a few changes and get rid of a few bad actors. But when the average “career” of a pro player lasts only four years, losing a player or two over bad behavior off the field will not change the game or the bottom line.

I realize this perspective comes across as cynical and jaded. I wish it were different. I wish that the institutions surrounding professional sports, including the media empires that have learned to monetize and merchandize athletic achievement, were more sensitive to the long-term cultural implications of their choices. I wish the NFL brand stood for something more.


16 Responses to “Protecting the Brand”

  1. Alexandra Hyland said

    Reputation is everything especially when a reputation is a public matter. The athletes associated with the NFL are in the public eye and are representatives of the organization. How they act or what they do reflects the NFL, sponsors and others who have are involved. Public relations is crucial for the organization, if a player is shown in negative light then the NFL will be judged either way when they approach the situation. The PRSA website gave a very well developed definition for Public Relations. “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This hits it right on the head, PR works as the organizations voice to the public. Media manipulation can be crafted as an art form. Organizations can develop what light they are seen in on how they approach any given situation. It is kind of creepy to think about. PR works in many ways, and has many tools associated with it and is super personalized. Buzz is generated as long as people are talking about whatever is going on, the source remains relevant. Publicity is key to buzz and buzz is key to publicity. “Confessions of a Media Manipulator” slide show made this very clear. Communication is the key to the power of the public.

  2. Gilbert Ramirez said

    I enjoyed reading this blog because it is true and detrimental for the athletes acting out in public. Athletes should know better and should be more aware of what they’re doing because it is a mandatory role of a professional athlete to have a halo above their head. I admire your point about how athletes come and go especially in football, and how losing particular athletes will not effect the NFL as a whole. It is pretty spectacular, from the slideshow confessions of a media manipulator, how blogs are equally important to news stories and articles because that’s where it starts. Blogs can help get your point across and if done correctly, possibly earn more publicity and credit. The NFL was a great topic to choose from because it illustrates a particular problem and attacks it, however, the reputation of its image can reduce dramatically although financially it will still stay stable. According to PRSA, public relations are defined as,” a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” What is important about public relations and why this definition fits so perfectly is because of the act to communicate effectively to the public. The public wants and needs to know what is going on in certain organizations and PR does that job perfectly. PR is important to our everyday living and hopefully it will maintain mutually beneficial relationships.

  3. Ariana Cassio said

    The NFL is a huge thing just like the article said, when the top 3 TV rated programs are all about NFL Football then public relations is a huge thing. Like the article from the PRSA website says “Simple and straightforward, this definition focuses on the basic concept of public relations — as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing “mutually beneficial relationships.”” This means to me that public relations is all about communication and how people perceive your company and how it’s being ran. By them getting rid of a few players and apologizing publicly I think that helped a little but you can never take back things that have happened and people’s views on your organization. People always think of negative things before of positives. From the Confessions of a Media Manipulator “Blogs have enormous influence over other blogs.” This made me think about how public relations has such a huge influence over a company. If you have a bad image then you will go down sometime, and people will eventually find something better. PR shows people what is really out there and what’s going on.

  4. Jordan Freed said

    The NFL PR is addressing this because this has begun to affect them as a whole. As defined on the PRSA website, PR is about building mutually beneficial relationships, and appealing to public opinion so that the organization isn’t affected as a whole. Now that this problem has become larger and people are viewing the NFL negatively. So this has become a PR problem. They need to bring the picture of the NFL back to positive light, so that they may maintain a positive relationship with fans and sponsors. Also this has began to affect the NFL in their plans, as money is being taken away. But why has this only just now come to be such a big issue? Things like today’s scandals have always happened in professional sports but has never gotten this much attention. One reason this has began to become such a big reason might have something to do with media manipulation. As stated with the confessions of a Media Manipulator, manipulating media is easy to do and more people are doing it now than ever before. This could have become an issue if a women’s rights group or any other group sought to bring this to attention. This may be why this has been under the public eye more nowadays.

  5. Dave Lancaster said

    The PRSA website defines PR as “simple and straightforward” and “a process that is strategic in nature and emphasizing mutually beneficial relationships.” If this is what PR is, the NFL doesn’t really have good PR right now. The NFL has been around for years, and is a massive catalyst in the television industry.With this whole debacle, you’d think the NFL would use their PR team to the fullest. Public communication is vital for any business or person. Without it, the public can feel isolated and unwanted, thereby dropping revenue for the business or attention for the person. It’s always an issue, but people can manipulate the media however they want. According to the Confessions of a Media Manipulator, blogs can influence other blogs, or websites can generally influence other sites to think what they want to. Sometimes they don’t want the public to know what’s really going on behind closed doors, and it shows. People have a right to know what they’re buying and what the people running it want them to think.

  6. Ronell McNeal said

    I understand that media does put pressure on people in the public eye to handle things soon as they happen. The problem is that alot of people that arent in the spot light feel as if they have the right to demand discipline when one it has nothing to do with them and two if they were in the situation then they would have differet feelings about what would be happening to them. Media can take something that happens on a every day basis and have a famous person in trouble for it “I can turn nothing into something by placing a story with a small blog that has very low standards”. Adrian Petterson whooped his child like countless parents so to discipline there kids. Just because he is in the NFL people make a big deal of it and now his whole life is effected by the up roar of media blowing things out of proportion. The influence that one blogger can have on another and another which turns into a website doesnt help people come up with their own thoughts about whats going on, and someone doesnt agree with it then people look at them as if they are a horrible person.Its good that the famous people do know that just because they are famous thing wont go unnoticed but at the same time its like the ruling or judgement is alot worse just because they are famous.

  7. Jordan Dominic said

    With the NFL, it is understood that the players and the officials will always be under an advanced level of scrutiny simply because they are in the public eye. Ok, got it. But after a certain point do all of these commercials of domestic violence, for example, become tedious? After a certain point, I feel as though they are just buying into what they think the public wants and needs. According to the PRSA website “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This is all they are doing with everything they do for the public. Not saying that all of these commercial to raise awareness about the situation are not well-intended, but if the medium is the same then people will cease to listen, which is why in PR everyone is always looking for new ways to get their product sold and in this case its anything to do with the NFL, whether its getting people to watch football programs or getting them to go out and buy their player and organizational merchandise. It’s almost a “Trust me, I’m lying” sort of thing because its always as though the organization will do whatever it takes to keep the public on its side as long as people keep continuing to support the organization through various ways.

  8. Chad Baer said

    This blog is very true because of how the players are acting, for example, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson beating up their family. They should know better. Just because they’re pretty big in NFL and making a big deal out of it. The NFL public relations (PR) is addressing this because they begun to affect as a whole. It’s about building mutually beneficial relationships so it’s pretty simple and straightforward. The people are viewing NFL negatively because the PR aren’t very good. So it has become a problem for them. The NFL need to fix this so people can see this as a positive. I like the last paragraph because I agree to that part about wishing for the NFL brand stood something for more.

  9. Myrissa Ortiz said

    I agree with this blog considering the NFL gives us the impression that they don’t really care about the issues that go on outside of the NFL. Since they are such a gigantic, global corporation they have to take responsibility for some of the actions of the individuals that are involved in the corporation (players, coaches, etc) since they are representing their company. In the PRSA article it states that public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. In order for this process to occur, even big corporations such as the NFL must create a good image in order for their audience to trust their credibility. In the Confessions of a Media Manipulator post it says “even in today’s world they must think like a blogger; get as many page views as possible.” This statement makes sense considering some companies may believe as long as someone is paying attention to the issue it is still publicity, even if it has a negative connotation behind it.

  10. Chris Epps said

    The NFL has a huge reputation in the world today, especially in America. At time you get the dumb players that go and do stuff that is just completely wrong, Ray Rice, and it seems like it just ruins the NFL because if you like the team that he plays on and they lose people just riot or complain about him not being able to play. Then we have to consider the fact that it might make more American angry so they think they should let him play to make others happy and not lose viewers. Just look how the PRSA website defines PR “simple and straightforward”. All in all, I think that the NFL doesn’t have a good PR right now and is in a slump. in confessions of a media manipulator they say blogs can influence other blogs. I think personally that half of the stuff that goes wrong in the NFL most certainly isn’t explained or mentioned, But it shows by the actions that people make and is really affecting everything around it.

  11. tiauna Rodriguez said

    Im sure that there many other things that are covered other then the current events ,like how in the slide show it states ” There are thousand of bloggers scoring the web looking for things to write about.” the NFL could pay off anyone so they don’t get leaked to the media, but on this specific topic I think that this article is true because even though there are players who do wrong things that not only make their selves, the team they play for look bad, but the NFL as a whole. And at the end of the day even though there are a few players who make mistakes and make it into big news, the NFL is still bringing in large amounts of money. Like how the PRSA website proclaimed ” Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Whether it is negative or positive, the NFL is still being advertised.

  12. Sadly the NFL will never be anything more and neither will any major brand for that matter, in my opinion. Most would do anything to protect their brand, and in this case, even if it means blinding the public. The PRSA defines public relations as a “strategic communication process” which is obviously not what the NFL is going for. But hey, that doesn’t matter when money is constantly rolling in. Being a “media manipulator” is such an easy task that can have everyone fooled. And guess what else, it’s cheap! Why spend money when you can manipulate for pennies on the dollar and keep nearly the entity of your image. I see a win-win here even if it has negative undertones. But that doesn’t matter when it’s the NFL we’re talking about – America’s favorite sport.

  13. Zeta Poulin said

    There’s a lot of interesting dynamics that play into the circumstances of this story becoming famous. The first being that a website that is not known for its legitimacy was the first to post the video that made the story go so viral. Pretty great example of trading up the chain. The video was played repeatedly on major outlets as soon as TMZ made it public.
    Now, the NFL’s initial response was pretty terrible (but really, what can you expect from an imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy?) but they’ve started their domestic violence awareness ad campaign that actually manages to not be offensive. That’s good relationship building; that’s good PR.
    Ray Rice is also working on his relationship with the public. His television interview was designed to get him back into the good graces of the public, by letting his wife speak of his charitable nature and his unfortunate “mistake.” It is highly unlikely any team will sign him this late in the year (or ever, hopefully), but his PR person sure knows what he/she is doing.

  14. Royce Mares said

    The problem I have with the media labeling the NFL as having a “domestic violence problem” (or any type of behavioral/criminal problem) is that it’s completely misleading and disingenuous. Fact is the NFL consists of 32 teams with 53 men on each of their “active rosters” that’s roughly 1700 players, if we were to cite serious off the field crimes committed by players such as domestic abuse, DUI’s, drug possession etc. then that’s approximately 30 total players over the past 5 seasons whom committed a crime that’s beyond just a slap on the wrist minor suspension. Statistically speaking that’s just under 2% of the NFL’s entire player workforce, compared to society as a whole, how much of an improvement would a 2% crime rate in the young male demographic be? Even with sample sizes equal, would 1700 randomly selected young adult men across the country have a lower criminal history rate than the National Football League’s employees do? I doubt it.

    The NFL is just under the microscope 24/7 NFL players are modern day gladiators whom we are all infatuated with, it’s wrong for the entire league to be judged based upon the deplorable actions of 2% of the players which is essentially a micro-minority that barely registers. To say the NFL has any type of problem is doing so without the support of facts and data or is not relative to society by comparison. Why is the NFL held to an immaculate standard that we don’t even hold upon ourselves? If anything America should aspire to get society’s crime rates as low as the NFL’s.

  15. Matt Vigil said

    The way that the media shows the NFL is considered undermining and blown out of proportion, but in all reality media is just doing a public service on what they expose. This does not mean i side with the medias’ tactics, but instead agree on the big picture that the NFL is having some bad PR problems and the media has exposed this because in the United States it is one of the most watched entertainment shows. This means that many young adults and kids are watching this and seeing players fight on the field during a game, or getting in trouble with the law. These are the same people that others cheer for making them a role model for the younger viewers who see them on a weekly basis. The media exposes this and drives it into every second of the day because it is a big deal because as Americans we Idolize these people and wear their name. On the other hand there is good PR coming from the NFL by punishing the players when they tarnish the name of the league. The players who also done wrong have made it a point to publicly apologize to try to repair their name.

  16. Dakari Lawrence said

    A big issue with the NFL’s public relations is that, as a whole, they have been portrayed as violent off the field. However, by categorizing every player violent is not right if it is a select few out of thousands of players. While the media “focuses on NFL players behaving badly,” the league is trying to allow people to see or understand that they are not a domestically violent organization. This requires a fair amount of money that they must be willing to put forth. The number of viewers will not decrease though. Considering the NFL has, of lately, put ads out of their “no more” campaign, it can be a good thing for their PR rating because it is reaching a wide variety of consumers. Players need to do more than say “No more”; they need to show the public they can be respectable to people off the field and the NFL wouldn’t possess such a negative persona.

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