There was a remarkable scene in the NFL yesterday: Brett Favre was repeatedly booed at Lambeau Field.
It was notable scene because for many years Brett Favre was a much-loved character in Wisconsin. He played for the Green Bay Packers for 16 seasons and went to two Super Bowls with the team.
Favre’s awkward departure from the team and his subsequent decisions to play for the New York Jets and now the Minnesota Vikings, have enraged Packer fans. In short order Favre has destroyed much of the good will he built up over almost two decades with the Packers.
Branding is critically important for NFL players. Careers in the NFL are short, and when a player leaves the league he is left with memories, some money in the bank and his brand. In the long run, his brand is usually the most valuable of the three.
A much admired player like Brett Favre has an incredibly powerful brand. In Denver, John Elway went on to open car dealerships and was a part owner of the Colorado Crush, an arena football league team. In Buffalo, Jim Kelly opened a restaurant and created prominent foundations. Favre could do the same in Wisconsin.
But with a couple of rather poor decisions, Favre has significantly damaged his brand. Being booed at Lambeau was an unfortunate milestone.
Brett Favre is a gifted football player but he clearly doesn’t know much about branding.