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Sep 30, 2021

P.A.W. Journey Spotlight – The Man Makes The Brand

By: Savannah Bailey

Note: The following appears in the Boston College football gameday program.

In a year with signed Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) legislation, many programs and institutions across the country are funneling dollars and resources into branding education. While Clemson is proving to be ahead of the game with its plans for the Clemson Athletic Branding Institute, P.A.W. Journey’s message is simple: the man makes the brand.

Opportunities will continue to fluctuate with each team’s and each individual’s successes. What makes a Clemson football scholar-athlete the most marketable guy in the game? His character.

P.A.W. Journey has the privilege to holistically develop each of its young men by focusing on his personal growth, life skills and professional development. Whether it be through identify formation, leadership authenticity, values communication or just in the daily challenges of self-ownership presented by staff and peers, P.A.W. Journey promotes individual representation of character and influence.

Each year, P.A.W. Journey creates and commits to a theme, often building on years past, that provides a focus for the team throughout the season. The Man Makes The Brand is much more than a campaign or slogan, it is a mindset embraced by our young leaders to be first-class men of character with developed leadership qualities through world-class experiences.

Our scholar-athletes have an incredible opportunity to show not just what they can do, but truly who they are. Our scholar-athletes are empowered to develop and share their styles, their passions and the futures they envision for themselves.

Young leaders co-create experiences of a lifetime alongside P.A.W. Journey staff, providing input on abroad service trip locations, corporate partners of interest and mentorship connections. They use their influence to lead in their classrooms and in their communities, representing a culmination of acquired skills, developed confidence and self-awareness.

“P.A.W. Journey shows what it looks like to invest in players,” said junior offensive tackle and P.A.W. Journey Ambassador Jordan McFadden. “Being an ambassador has allowed me to be confident in who I am and show that to other people.”

From a life skills perspective, P.A.W. Journey prepares our scholar-athletes not just for NIL, but for any future career and connection to the world. The education surrounding branding heavily focuses on the social media analytics and marketability of students nationwide. However, that is only part of the development curriculum P.A.W. Journey has created.

Skills development in public speaking, business etiquette, brand management, social media engagement and financial literacy are all created through opportunities within the program. Whether it be through structured initiatives or in the empowerment to lead and practice those skills, P.A.W. Journey serves to challenge and support the business mindsets and marketability of each scholar-athlete.

The program is also able to provide tools of the trade, equipping each young man with business cards and the chance to build his own portfolio alongside the Clemson creative solutions team. As seen through the P.A.W. Journey Showcase, fall camp tax seminars, internship experiences and networking with top executives, our young men are prepared to embrace new opportunities at Clemson and beyond.

Resources are abundant and growing, but our young men understand that their marketability is echoed in their actions, demeanors, values and leadership. Sophomore cornerback and Ambassador Malcolm Greene said it best.

“How I play may open up doors, but who I am opens up more. At Clemson, we don’t just win on the field, it’s about a lifestyle of winning.”