Consistency and frequency can take what was once an overlooked idea and turn it into something people can’t help but notice. Your brand is no different than a ball of foil.
The next step in building a marketing plan is to formulate a set of objectives that ultimately get you closer to your end goal: a differentiated position among your competition. The same way coaches have goals that they believe lead to success on game day, brand managers have goals that they believe will lead to increased market share.
The best recruiter on your staff isn’t a person. The best recruiter on your staff doesn’t get paid. The best recruiter on your staff doesn’t even talk. Yet, the best recruiter on your staff tells a recruit everything he needs to know about your school.
It’s important to manage and treat each social platform differently, as each is built for different forms of engagement. Facebook is different from Twitter, Twitter from Instagram, and so on and so on.
Traditions are born from detail. Take helmet stickers in college football, for example. They’re diminutive and subtle, but by being used across the vast majority of programs at one point or another, helmet stickers have become one of the sport’s most celebrated traditions. There’s a romance to customs like these that bring me, and millions of others, back to college sports every year. More important, they tell a story.
In many cases, rivalries are made up of two teams who are essentially the antithesis of one another, which can be a very good thing for you – if you have a tight brand story and positioning plan. Playing your rival can bring out what makes your team unique.
It’s important to keep the local, regional, and national media abreast of what is happening with your program. Whether it’s an event you’re putting on or a feel-good story, if the press doesn’t know about it, it’s not going to get covered. And unless you’re a national power, they will rarely come to you to get a story.
Fluffy marketing is no marketing, especially when it comes to building a long-term brand. In everything you do, every time you speak, there needs to be a reason and an objective that ladders up to a bigger picture.
What recruits see is what you get—meaning what your audience sees with their own eyes is what in many cases forms their opinions of who you are and what your program stands for. It’s up to you to use those visual cues to your advantage.
In order to truly understand what makes the fans and media who follow your sport and program tick, you need to do research—a lot of research. Go through everything you can find about your program through present day, including old statistics, former and current player rosters and bios, coaching bios, written articles, media guides, and team monikers. Your objective is to discover and reveal the essence of your program. What makes it special? What is it about your program that keeps fans coming back?
Perception doesn’t win games, but it does win recruiting battles. Winning is important to your long-term success as a program, but it’s not enough to just win. You need to build a brand that kids want to be a part of. Those kids are your potential recruits. What makes a kid want to wear your badge?