Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international

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by - Senior Writer -
A group from Liberty High School flies the Clemson flag above Lucerne, Switzerland (Photo courtesy of Tim Johnson)
A group from Liberty High School flies the Clemson flag above Lucerne, Switzerland (Photo courtesy of Tim Johnson)

Dabo Swinney loves to tell everyone that he coaches at “little old Clemson.” He even mentioned it after Clemson defeated Alabama in the title game in January, saying he knew that little old Clemson wasn’t supposed to be there. As it turns out, little old Clemson is making a move on the national and world stage.

Swinney was rewarded with a 10-year contract at a Board of Trustees meeting late last month, and while we were waiting on the final approval to go through I had a conversation with Deputy Director of Athletics Graham Neff.

Neff and I spoke about Clemson, and the apparel deal with Nike and I wondered just how Clemson fares when it comes to apparel sales nationally. Clemson’s alumni base size isn’t among the nation’s largest with just 156,467 living alumni. Compare that to Penn St. (673,000) and Michigan (575,000), and other large state schools and the numbers pale in comparison.

It’s interesting to note that from 2005-2015, Clemson finished in the low to mid-’20s in the top selling/licensing universities that partner with CLC, the Collegiate Licensing Company. Clemson finished 24th in 2005, 24th in 2006, 20th in 2007, 21st in 2008, 23rd in 2009, 25th in 2010, 24th in 2011, 24th in 2012, 24th in 2013, 22nd in 2014, and 23rd in 2015.

The Tigers began to appear regularly in the College Football Playoff starting in 2015, however, and had the added star power of players like Deshaun Watson and jumped to 17th in 2016 and 7th in 2017, the year after the Tigers won their second national championship.

Clemson finished 10th last season, but on the heels of a third national championship and second in two years in 2018, Clemson is projected to finish third this season. That number is remarkable because it reflects not only revenue but brand recognition and brand presence.

Schools like Texas and Alabama and Michigan always appear at the top of the rankings – they have a history of excellence in athletics and large alumni bases – and the fact that “little old Clemson” is beginning to work its way into big boy territory shows the reach of The Paw.

Candace Bolt shows off her Clemson colors at the famed Abbey Road in London

We are going to delve further into the numbers in a later story – the summer is always a good time for those articles. However, it’s no secret that Swinney and his staff are grabbing players from California (two commits over the last two years), Connecticut, Texas, and Kansas. Clemson football is now a national brand and is recruiting players from across the country.

How far does the recognition of The Paw reach into everyday life? I asked readers on social media about their experiences, and they came back with some delightful responses. A few years ago Nikki and I were walking a mountain trail in Yellowstone National Park, far from any road, and she had on a pink Clemson sweatshirt. Several hours into the hike we meet people coming down the trail and the first person we see yells, “Go Tigers.” They weren’t Clemson fans but had seen Clemson in the championship against Alabama and now recognized the logo.

Other instances are:

*Chris Rosier went on a hunting trip to Uruguay and a local guide recognized the logo.

*Tim Coston was in Juneau, Alaska, and had someone yell, “Go Tigers” after seeing his orange sweatshirt.

*Brad Harvey was in a marketplace in Jerusalem and had someone try and sell him a Clemson shirt with Hebrew lettering.

*Deena Smith says the Paw was recognized all over London.

*Former Clemson player Darius Robinson now plays in Europe, and he says he sees the Paw everywhere he goes.

*Lisa Nason was about to take a tour of Versailles and had someone come up to her and comment on her Clemson shirt.

*Bill Crowther said he received several comments on the Paw in Barcelona, Spain, recently.

*Courtney Tumblin wore her Clemson gear to Paris and she says it was recognized all over the city.

*Carson Burgess says he had people recognize the logo in Nicaragua.

*Kathryn Dunmeyer and her husband were on a cruise in the South Pacific, and her husband had on a Clemson shirt. An Indonesian crewman, who didn’t speak English, saw the Paw and starting patting it while yelling, “Dabo! Dabo!”

*Madison Temples had several people come up to him in the airport in Kuwait to talk about Clemson after they spotted his Clemson gear.

*Candace Bolt took a Clemson flag to London and took a photo on the famed Abbey Road and had several people recognize the logo.

*Clemson Tom was in Galway, Ireland, and had a local come up and talk about Clemson football with him.

There are plenty of stories to tell, and I am sure you have some yourself. There is no doubt that Clemson’s brand presence is now recognized worldwide. Little old Clemson has gone international.

NOTE: I asked for a few pictures of The Paw and the Clemson flag flying across the world and expected a few responses. What I received was an avalanche, and even though I needed just a few for the story I couldn't let them go to waste. So here are a bunch more. And, as always, I am amazed at the members of our military who proudly fly the flag while on deployment. Enjoy.





































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Subject (Replies: 26) Author
spacer TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
TigerNet News
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Oculus
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74TIGER
spacer Yes! That's why that name is familiar***
TigerzzRoar®
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ABC Tiger
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Carlsbad®
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
Bareftn
spacer that is HUGE. I never thought we would be at the top of
TigerDominance®
spacer The paw IS recognized everywhere
FORESTTIGER
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
tampatiger4
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
TS_Tiger®
spacer especially this one.
classof1994®
spacer Whenever I'm out of town
o2bnclemson
spacer The Volga River one is funny. It's like he's just your
ATL PAW MAN®
spacer My kid sent me a pic of her in front of the same building
Neal in NC®
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bloodrunsorange63®
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MiuraTiger®
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
FerventApathy
spacer I wore Clemson gear all over Cusco and Machu pichu
AsheTiger
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
fencebusters®
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
Nick16
spacer I’m shocked
Judge Keller®
spacer Heard "Go Tigers" at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
cu1981fans
spacer Somewhere there's a pic of me with a tiger paw flag in front
Tiggity®
spacer Re: TNET: Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
Swamp81
spacer This is the #1 reason I always wear Clemson gear when flying
grover173
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Joe21®
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