All photos courtesy of Brandon G. Best, Elite Visions Photography
Recently Lebron James started a movement, “More Than an Athlete,” in response to a cable news network commentator saying he should focus on basketball. That exchange sparked a major conversation in America and on social media. It’s true, athletes don’t just dribble the ball anymore — they are philanthropist, investors and million dollar brands. To craft, maintain and enhance that brand, many of the top professional athletes in the world trust an ordinary guy from the hood, who now runs one of the most trusted sports marketing firms in the world. His name is Jason Campbell and his firm is Brand B Sports; his mission is to ensure the longterm development and success of his high profile clients, so they can in-turn help effectuate change in their communities. Jason has been praised by the likes of Barack Obama, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver and a host of other executives across the professional sports spectrum. Sports is big business, but Jason Campbell and Brand B Sports are about big impact, first.
An athlete can’t bring change to their community without a solid foundation professionally, financially and socially. Brand B Sports ensures all those things are working symbiotically for its clients. Brand B is a full scale sports marketing agency. The firm works with athletes to help them build their brand, using a comprehensive, 360 degree approach. Brand B manages and executes philanthropic engagement, public relations, content development, marketing and brand management strategies. In addition, the firm seeks to set every one their clients up for longterm success by vetting investment opportunities, oversight of financial management, setting up foundations and managing day to day logistics. There is no shortage of companies and organizations lined up to make money off of professional athletes. What is short in supply, however, are firms like Brand B, who first prioritize client success and focus on making impact in our most vulnerable communities.
Jason Campbell knows a good deal about communities in need — he was born in and still lives in one. On purpose. The Englewood neighborhood of Chicago has, for several decades, been synonymous with gang violence and poverty. Jason is a son of Englewood. In fact, Jason’s mother was a classmate of the notorious gang leader, Larry Hoover. Several of his family members were in gangs but Jason chose school over the fast money. He excelled in high school en route to Florida A&M University, a historically Black college. Jason originally wanted to study criminal justice and go to law school. Instead he switched gears to business marketing. One of his fraternity brothers who was an executive at a fortune 500 company heard Jason give an address at homecoming and immediately recognized that Jason had a gift — he advised Jason to look into branding, marketing and sales opportunities to pursue after college.
Jason landed a gig with 3M doing global branding and marketing. But Jason was laid off from work after just a couple of years. The setback was painful and he had to come back to Chicago to regroup. Still, Jason had plenty of fight and initiative left in him. He attended a career fair at a local university that was intended only for current students; Jason crashed the event and was able to get his resume to a hiring manager from Johnson & Johnson, who saw Jason’s potential and hired him on the spot. As Jason excelled at work, however, his passion for community development also grew. He linked up with a friend to help launch Swish Dreams, a nonprofit that uses sports as a vehicle to teach kids language arts, reading and math through a basketball lens. As the organization brought in professional athletes to engage with the young men, Jason noticed a void in their representation and a lack of understanding of how to leverage those opportunities from a personal branding perspective. Jason also realized that these young, well paid Black men had too many people in their circles that didn’t truly care about their long-term development — something had to be done.
Jason was given the opportunity to run a few basketball camps for a couple of NBA athletes, which eventually led to him white labeling several high profile deals behind the scenes for some of the top agents in the game. Over time, athletes and agents began to seek Jason out to spearhead branding and marketing campaigns for them. Today Brand B has a global footprint in the NBA, NASCAR, the NHL, NFL and USTA (Tennis). President Obama once said of Jason, “He is a pillar of the global business community and he’s dedicated to the development of our youth.” With all of his success, Jason still makes time to actively mentor over 100 youth from the communities where he resides and invests. Jason started Brand B to help athletes make a difference in their communities and he believes you have to be “within it and of it.” to bring about meaningful change in the hood. Brand B is not just about big sports marketing deals, it’s about big impact.