Brand Recognition: Little old Clemson and The Paw go international
|Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 8:25 AM- -|
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.
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.
The Clemson flag in front of NATO HQ in Kabul, Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/6mNUXovERt— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Adam McGee and his pals have fun in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/F83SY9fj9N— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Mark McKinney in Aarhus, Denmark pic.twitter.com/ffjCXkKKj1— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Anthony Richardson in Kuwait pic.twitter.com/FouWluMojH— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Anthony Richardson in Thailand pic.twitter.com/SGe6IvKFuR— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Anthony Richardson in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/znVDcsbzcR— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Andy Navarro's son in Singapore pic.twitter.com/IlG2XhDD92— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Jim Nolte in front of Notre Dame in Paris pic.twitter.com/WQcVTjxRpY— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Major Trey Kennedy and Aaron Trent in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/pIWFeFsBuu— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Rick Butler at The Colosseum in Rome pic.twitter.com/tn5oYOZL6f— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Adam Wiggins fishing on the Volga River in Russia pic.twitter.com/VL1p2ec49q— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Three Clemson grads at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2006. (Justin Mastrangelo and Jordie Jordan and Whit Nanna). pic.twitter.com/FxbUqE6d7h— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Kimberly Henderson at Machu Picchu pic.twitter.com/SnlIldAhx7— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Geoff Rigbsy in front of Notre Dame pic.twitter.com/3uSaZtKHKY— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Amy Kitts in Russia pic.twitter.com/6OyXT7Ji0J— David Hood (@MDavidHood) May 7, 2019
Andrew Phillip in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/oLWY31kYaY— Griffin Phillip (@GriffinPhillip) May 7, 2019
My future Clemson Softball player going to her high school prom. We are in VA. pic.twitter.com/zOac0nQPEV— Danielle Thompson (@Mamadannel87) May 7, 2019
Does this one need explaining? pic.twitter.com/Q1TgdOAoho— Will Ray (@william_ray4) May 7, 2019
Machu Picchu pic.twitter.com/1oahUC1xMi— Mallory Dailey (@mallligator) May 7, 2019
Godzilla in Tokyo pic.twitter.com/PRJMryv5v9— David Steinberg (@dmsclemson) May 7, 2019
Versailles pic.twitter.com/wjNEmQrsMC— David Steinberg (@dmsclemson) May 7, 2019
The Original Death Valley. pic.twitter.com/ATn7zwSVlS— David Steinberg (@dmsclemson) May 7, 2019
In Texas Stadium with Woody pic.twitter.com/3je61zCjh8— Chris Clark (@LastFreeExit) May 7, 2019
Undisclosed location on deployment with the USAF, southwest Asia pic.twitter.com/Q0eRaLgLY4— Clemson Tweets (@ClemsonRT) May 7, 2019
Iraq border pic.twitter.com/j8atstvMW0— Jordan Whitehead???? (@jordnwhite) May 7, 2019
Desert outside of Dubai, UAE. pic.twitter.com/7sEm2qbfAS— Jerel Hendricks (@Ol_Rel) May 7, 2019
At Kansas State graduation for #1 son. inside joke here is that, though lifelong Clemson fans - and that he was accepted into Clemson in 2013- he chose K-State over Clemson. I never let him forget that he “could have been a Tiger”. ?????? pic.twitter.com/QECvNFk2VN— Jim K (@JimKicklighter) May 7, 2019
On the Israeli-Syrian border. Golan Heights. pic.twitter.com/GIbQMRK9Ao— Bo Burgess (@boburgess10) May 7, 2019
Here is a video in south Iceland pic.twitter.com/rXaaoou4yG— Mandy Morrah (@mandymorrah) May 7, 2019
Class of 1995 and ADPi - went to Iceland in March this is at Skogafoss Falls, Iceland pic.twitter.com/E5HH6G2QAl— Mandy Morrah (@mandymorrah) May 7, 2019
Philly pic.twitter.com/PwCkLx3jJi— Daniel Hooper (@hooper_daniel) May 7, 2019
At the Mediterranean Sea pic.twitter.com/m4xp9idQv5— Jenna Manning (@jenna1852) May 7, 2019
In Iceland! pic.twitter.com/6R4Rw5mLhS— Bart Upah (@bartupah) May 7, 2019
Lyn Norton and Kelly Holleman on Black Sand Beaches in Iceland. pic.twitter.com/VzphDCyUpY— Kelly Holleman (@krnholleman) May 7, 2019