Brand Lessons from Coach Prime

Shannel Wheeler
3 min readSep 22, 2023

I stayed up until 2 AM watching the Colorado/Colorado State game.

Why? Colorado isn’t even my team (I’m a Buckeye first). But I was definitely cheering for them that night. And the two games before that.

Just like many others, I became a fan. And as I watched, I was thinking — what an incredible lesson Deion Sanders (Coach Prime) has taught us all about brand and culture.

Whether you like Deion or not, it’s hard to deny what he’s done. Not just at Colorado but at Jackson State. And that is, to transform an organization’s perception. Some key brand factors include:

Genuine Culture

You can tell that there’s a strong sense of unity and pride at Colorado. And not just in the locker room, but in the stands, throughout campus, and beyond. Starting with the internal energy and the now infamous “We believe” statement, it doesn’t just serve as a tagline on a wall. They actually do believe in themselves. That camaraderie and spirit continue to awe and capture the hearts of many, on and off the field.

Core Values

Dedication and hard work are cornerstones of the team’s newfound success. Faith is a core value for Sanders that he’s not afraid to express vocally. Their values aren’t just words to be memorized. They are the foundations for overcoming and building a caliber of team that the school has never seen before.

Accountable Leadership

A man with an incredible backstory is also the leader of this recharged team. More importantly, he’s the leader of a movement — something bigger than football. And even with his own personal health battles, he remains accountable for leading his team and being an advocate for their growth. Certainly not a symbol of perfection, but a “Prime” example of an authentic leader who shows up with unique personality, unwavering confidence in his team, a willingness to learn, and responsibility for both successes and failures.

Brand Ambassadors

The increased excitement, energy, and esteem of this new Colorado team have made “believers” out of many. It has also garnered support from celebrities and influencers. More people…



Shannel Wheeler

Left-brain creative | Brand/Design Implementation | Design Instruction and Inspiration | Creating with Purpose: