"That’s what wrong with the league, you’ve got guys worried about social media, my brand. You brand once you get drafted, when you win as a team, you get your brand. When your team wins, then all of those commercials will come. Everything is all about hype.” - Charles Oakley, former NBA power forward, in The Boston Sunday Globe, April 6, 2014.

Branding is one of the most discussed, least understood concepts in marketing.  Branding is ALL about the emotional connection an organization makes with its public and it encompasses the entire relationship, from first contact through advocacy. A winning brand derives from every aspect of the organization-public relationship and depends entirely on the public's emotional reaction and feedback for legitimacy.  Brands are given, they are not applied.  Certainly, organizations should do everything in their power to live into the attributes they seek. But if your "team" talks a championship game and delivers a sub-.500 customer relationship, no amount of crowing and self-congratulation will make your brand championship caliber with current and future fans. No industry relies on emotional connection and response like professional sports and, clearly, the old "enforcer" for the Knicks, Bulls and others understands this well. Those of us who work outside of the stadium should listen.