Building Your Brand: The Chicago Cubs

In today’s world, everybody wants everything now–fast food, fast money, and fast accomplishment. However, that’s not always the way it works. The Chicago Cubs, for example, are best known for going 108 years without a championship.  

And then they finally won

In 2011, the team started one of the most successful rebuilds in the history of sports. First, they signed Theo Epstein as president of baseball operations. Epstein had a history of turning a team around. He’s a master of the rebuild (see the Boston Red Sox). They then traded their valuable veteran players for many new prospects. That was a risk–prospects in baseball are never a guarantee, but the risk can pay off massively, and it did for the Cubs. Of Epstein’s 12 trades since 2011, at least half proved critical to winning the World Series. Intelligent and strategic drafting added more great talent

For five years, this once lackluster team built its lineup and honed its style, before the process finally made them champions. 

What can you learn from the Chicago Cubs? 

Building your brand is very important. Many businesspeople want their ideas to pay off now—if they don’t see immediate success, they assume they’ve failed and try something new. But short-term plans do often fail. If the Cubs had set out to win the World Series in 2011, they would have failed, because they didn’t have the lineup, didn’t have leadership, and couldn’t have gotten what they needed in just a couple of weeks. But they could get what they needed over five years. 

If you’re in a position to find success right now, that’s great. Go for it. But if you’re not, take the time you need to get in position. Think about the long term. You could find yourself becoming a champion. 


Picture of Wrigley Field taken by spablab under the Creative Commons 2.0 License