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Posted on 09.27.2012

Brand Confidence: What’s Your Call?

How confident are you in your brand? Likely not as confident as the NFL, which seems convinced that fans, players and broadcasters will quickly forget the replacement referee crisis as soon as an agreement is reached...whenever that may be. The league seems to be in no rush to cut a deal to end the "crisis." That's confident; but is it smart?

After Monday night's most controversial call of the strike to date, the Twittersphere united fans and players in disgust.  Angry fans reportedly left more than 70,000 voicemails for the NFL League Office in a single night. Even President Obama and Governor Romney were united in a shared position on at least this one issue: the strike needs to be settled quickly and experienced refs brought back on the field. 

The league's credibility in managing through the strike is also under fire. Countless commentators have expressed concerns that not only will season records be marred, but that players may be hurt as a result of blown plays. And in a particularly amusing revelation, we learned this week that the one of the replacement refs was fired from the LFL. That's the "Lingerie Football League" you know. And he was FIRED.

But, ticket sales are good and TV ratings are up. So the only down side to the strike for the NFL, it appears, are the licks to its reputation. That's apparently one price the league is happily willing to pay.

Most organizations are not in a position to be so cavalier about their reputation. Realizing reputational harm can threaten the stability or economic health of an organization, smart organizational leaders take steps to minimize negative media coverage, limit the negative impact among stakeholders, and help retain or rebuild credibility and trust.

But in the eyes of the NFL, I guess, it's only a game; and its leadership seems to believe it holds the winning hand. What do you think? Is the risk they're taking a good business decision?

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