NFL Patriots Analysis: Brand Managers Must Say No

Real brand management means being willing to say no.

Photo: New England Patriots Facebook.

Photo: New England Patriots Facebook.

The actions of the New England Patriots football team provided a dramatic reminder last week.

First, the quick back-story.  One of their best players, tight end Aaron Hernandez, was arrested and charged with murder, and immediately released by the team.

That’s their right, and they have to absorb the financial consequences of the NFL’s salary cap.  At the same time, Hernandez deserves and will get his day in court.  Although he is “innocent until proven guilty,” the Patriots are under no obligation to keep him on the team (presumably, they are under obligation to honor the terms of his contract).

So what does this have to do with brand management?  Everything.

While Hernandez will proceed through our legal system, the Patriots no longer wanted any association with him, mostly because he is bad for their brand. Continue reading