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The Similarities Between Football & the Bradford Group

August 12, 2015 Bradford Group Administrator

Tailgating Outside Neyland Stadium in Knoxville

Tailgating outside Neyland Stadium in Knoxville

The season is upon us. Football season, that is. And while I am probably one of the biggest football fans there is (GO VOLS!), I’m not as excited about the return of pigskin this year as I normally am. It’s not because I worry how my Vols will do, but rather because the start of football indicates chilly temperatures are on the    way. I am NOT okay with that, especially after the last two unusually BRUTAL  winters in Nashville.

Obviously, I am not a fan of cold weather. In fact, I downright despise being  cold. I  think the only two redeeming qualities about colder weather is pumpkin-  flavored  everything (especially coffee) and Christmas. Don’t get me wrong;  while there is no  better place to be than Neyland Stadium on Saturdays in the  fall, I know the start of football means I’ll have to break out my heavy-duty  jackets and pants before too long.

So, as I begrudgingly accept football is right around the corner, here are three ways that working at the Bradford Group is like playing football.

Careful, strategic planning and practice

Before the first down is ever played, a lot of strategic planning and practice goes into what you see on the field. Football teams practice plays, run drills and watch film in preparation for their games. There is trial and error. Adjustments are made to build the strongest offensive and defensive lines. Secret weapons are created as players learn special trick plays that they will keep in their back pocket until the opportune moment presents itself (think Tennessee’s trick play against Missouri last year that resulted in a touchdown). Without planning and practice, teams wouldn’t be adequately prepared for game day.

Similarly, we practice our skills, even though we do so without the pads and heavy lifting. Do we always craft the perfect pitch or write a perfect bylined column on the first try? No. That’s why we practice writing and pitching the media. Since we all come from different backgrounds, we share tips that may help a fellow groupie score some success. For example, when pitching a story to a local news station, it is always best to follow-up with a phone call because assignment editors are inundated with dozens of pitches a day. Yours could easily get lost in the mix. Tips like that help us feel more confident, especially when pitching the big leagues like the Wall Street Journal.

Performing under pressure

The purpose of practice is to prepare you for game time, whether that’s on the field or in the office.

Football players face a mountain of pressure on game day. Imagine 102,000 fans cheering you on under the bright lights of Neyland Stadium on a Saturday night hoping this year’s team will be the one to pull us out of a several-year slump. It may be more pressure than most people experience in a lifetime, but those players suit up, run through the “T” and fight for the next 60 minutes. That pressure can either cause dropped passes and missed tackles, or it can be the driving force to victory.

While we don’t necessarily have an extremely passionate fan base expecting us to return UT football to its old glory, we carry the pressure of our clients’ expectations and our own expectations coupled with tight deadlines.

We all serve multiple clients, but do our best to treat each client like he or she is our only one. We strive to meet and exceed each client’s expectations. Last year, we landed on the Nashville Business Journal’s Top Public Relations Firms in Nashville list. While landing at No. 10 is great, we hope to continue to climb the ranks. One of the best ways to do that is to make our clients happy, who in turn, can give us wonderful referrals.

Celebrating the wins  

After pounding the turf and grinding it out for four quarters, it is time to celebrate the win. Most of the time you will each see football players rush the field or dump Gatorade on their coach, or both. After putting in the hard work, nothing feels better than celebrating a win, especially if it was a close game or a big rival (looking at your Alabama).

Granted, we may not be on the field, but we do take the time to celebrate our wins no matter how big or small. It’s a part of our company culture. In our kitchen, we have a large magnetic board where we post “kudos” for each other acknowledging our accomplishments, whether is it great work on a project or securing media placement for a client. A win is a win. Celebrating our wins also helps us to maintain morale during strenuous weeks.

Like football, we won’t win them all, but our goal is to continually practice our craft, sharpen our skills, score more wins than losses and celebrate the touchdowns along the way.


P.S. Okay, maybe I am getting a little more excited about the return of football. I mean, despite my misgivings about the colder weather, my Pinterest boards seem to keep filling up with all things UT, from adorable game day outfits to tailgating food and home décor.



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