National Football League (NFL)

Situation

The National Football League (NFL) holds the distinction of being America’s most popular and successful professional sports league. Both on the field and off, the NFL has been America’s unquestioned leader in pro sports since the 1960s, shaping everything from game experiences to media contracts that have set the standard for other leagues.

In this context, the NFL recognized the magnitude of its 100th season. It understood that its fans, teams, and current and former players would expect a standout celebration that was both meaningful and entertaining.

Like many organizations, however, the NFL quickly discovered it needed a partner it could trust to ensure the celebration would be rooted in a sound strategy and would strike the right tone with various audiences. Like many organizations, the NFL was not short on potential ideas, but it lacked a clear vision, strategy, and narrative to tie together a plethora of on- and off-field initiatives. The League turned to The History Factory—the world leader in corporate anniversaries—to help craft a unified centennial strategy and message platform.

Solution

The History Factory had to align numerous internal stakeholders who each brought important priorities and perspective to the table. In order to develop a centennial strategy that stakeholders could rally around, The History Factory met with more than a dozen senior leaders across the organization, as well as individual team representatives and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to build a unified vision and identify opportunities to engage audiences in a meaningful way.

The History Factory team distilled all of the input using our Clear Line of Sight™ to clearly articulate the centennial vision, including objectives, audiences and measures of success. With the vision established, all NFL employees and external partners had a clear strategic direction for building and executing various aspects of the centennial.

Equally important was establishing a point of view on telling the NFL’s story. It was vital that the organization reflect on 100 years of history consistently and, most importantly, generate excitement for the future. With input from the NFL, The History Factory developed an overarching strategy for storytelling, with five key storylines driving all messaging and initiatives. The storylines gave focus and consistency to how the NFL told its 100-year story in the context of the league today and where it is headed in the future.

Results

Armed with the strategic underpinnings for a historic centennial celebration, the NFL has been able to develop program and activation ideas that will enable the League to engage key audiences, tell a consistent story, and achieve its objectives.

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