Everyone apparently hates him, yet millions absolutely love him.
He is openly mocked, yet his jersey is the fastest-selling thread in football.
Love him or hate him, you can’t help but hear about him everywhere you go.
Tebow’s track record of leading his Denver Broncos to miraculous comeback victories has turned his last name into a verb. The Urban Dictionary defines “Tebow” as “being awful at something for a majority of the time that you are doing it and then somehow pulling yourself together in the last moments to secure victory.”
When your name becomes a verb, you are a brand. Think about that while you “FedEx” a package, play “Frisbee”, enjoy a “Jacuzzi”, or “TiVo” your favorite show.
You gain that kind of brand-as-verb status by representing something very distinct and powerful. You don’t get there by trying to be everything to everyone. You accept that in order to gain that kind of notoriety, you’ll piss a few people off along the way… some people won’t like you.
Tim Tebow is very public about his Christian beliefs. Those beliefs, along with his post-scoring one-knee prayer celebration, have polarized sports fans into two camps - love Tim Tebow or hate Tim Tebow. There isn’t any room in the middle.
You don’t have to love him to see how he has used his beliefs, his rituals, and his high-profile come-from-behind wins to build himself into a brand.
Personally I’m not a fan of Tebow’s habit of overtly displaying his faith in his sport. I think it’s tacky. But I would be crazy to think I couldn’t learn a thing or two about branding from him.