How the Ducks Do It – A Summary

The Oregon Ducks are one of the most successful Collegiate programs in recent history. A lot of their success can be attributed to the re-branding started by Phil Knight, CEO of NIKE and alumni of Oregon. Tired of seeing the school make it to bowl games only to be blown out, Knight called a meeting at Nike and made the Ducks a top priority for the company.

The focus for Nike and the Oregon athletics program was to build a program that could attract the best and brightest players. This was done first by changing the culture. They realized that appealing to older traditional fans wasn’t leading to a winning program. Instead they wanted to appeal to young athletes and attract them to Oregon. To do so, they invested millions in new facilities as well as their iconic uniforms. Despite the complaints of traditionalists, the old adage of “Winning Fixes Everything” really proved true, as once Oregon started winning consistently, people began praising their new methods.

Oregon has set the blueprint for teams on how to build a winning organization in the 21st century, and we can expect many more to start following their lead in the near future.

 

-Quinten

 

Sources:

http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/11/22/2577616/oregon-football-nike-uniforms

https://toky.com/journal/2015/01/15/college-footballs-best-brand/

The Virginia State Trojans

The Virginia State Trojans are a Division 2 school out of Ettrick, Virginia. The school was founded in 1882, and have been a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association since 1920. They offer 14 varsity sports split between men and women. As far as promoting their athletics, they use a few different social media platforms.

The Facebook for their athletic program is their most followed platform, with just over 3000 likes and follows. They do a good job posting photos from games and practices, as well as announcements for upcoming games. One area that could be improved upon is fan interaction. There seems to be almost no comments or conversation between fans and the page.

The Trojans also have done a decent job at utilizing Twitter. They post photos and stories much like their Facebook, and they also occasionally tweet shorter blurbs congratulating their teams on their accomplishments. One downside is the frequency that they tweet. There seems to be only one tweet a day on average, lessening their chances to be seen.

They also have an underused Instagram. They will post photos of games or big events, but at a very infrequent pace. There will be long periods of time with no posts, and many sports being posted about very little. This could contribute to their low follower count, reaching just over 1,000.

The Trojans are a competitive team in their conference, shown in their championships in various sports. However, they are severely lacking in exposure. An increase in the use of their social media could help to improve that, and possibly help improve the competitiveness of their teams.

 

-Quinten Squires

Eyes and Ears on Me

One of the most important aspects of how sports are experienced is the things people use to experience them: the five senses. While some seem more important than others, sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch are profoundly important to the way we not only perceive sporting events, but also to how we think about the entire experience. In his blog post, Evan Brown talks about how the senses can be used to brand experience. I’ll summarize it here, but if you want to read his entire post, you can do so here:

https://www.designmantic.com/blog/sense-and-sensibility-in-branding/

The most obvious sense for sporting events is sight, actually watching the game. Brown talks about how color can affect our perception, and using the right color can change how people think of your brand. One of the most important things when it comes to your brand is your logo. Sports logos are often recognizable even to non-sport fans.

Smell is often considered to be very important and has been linked to memory. It can be used to elicit positive reactions to a brand, but it can also be negative. Many sports can be conected with positive smells, and doing so can get people to think of your team whenever, they come across the smell.

When you think about attending a sport event, often you’ll think about the sounds of the game. The yelling of the players and fans, the collisions of whatever is colliding on the field, or the guy selling peanuts. One thing teams can do to set themselves apart in a sport, is the music they okay in their stadium. Playing the right music can in a way control fan’s emotional responses.

Taste is a small part of a sporting experience, but it can still affect how people perceive your organization. If you have bad food at your games it could ruin the entire experience for someone, and make them not want to come back, and having good tasting food can do the opposite.

The last sense is touch. Brown calls it the hardest to master for brands due to the prevalence of online retailers. The same can be said for sports with more events being watched on televisions and online than in person. That said, fans attending the game can be greatly affected by touch. Uncomfortable seating is the number one thing that can ruin an event for spectators.

One sense I think WVWC sports could better capitalize on is smell. When I think about any of our sports none of them bring a specific smell to mind. With smell’s close relationship to memory popular smells connected with positive outcomes could really help to boost any sport’s image.

 

-Quinten Squires

The New Generation

Marketing is an aspect of business that seems like it would have the same concept across every type of business. Namely, maintaining your product. However, with sports, there is a catch. You don’t have control of the biggest part of your product. When you’re in the marketing department, you have little to no control over the outcome of games. That’s not to say that the two are mutually exclusive. A team producing wins can make the lives of the organization’s marketers much easier. There’s a popular adage in sports: Winning fixes everything.

Sometimes though, a team will spend more than a few years in the proverbial gutter. This team still has to be marketed. Usually these teams are rebuilt with young talent. The fan base can be done the same way. Bringing in millennials can allow a team to rebuild their fan base with a very strong core.

Mike Grahl, VP of Digital Platforms for the Milwaukee Bucks, gave a talk at the American Marketing Association Regional Conference about marketing to the younger generation. I have included the full video below.

In his talk he spoke about how he and his team market the Bucks. He mentions several different methods, but they all focus around the main idea of delivering a quality experience to the fans on and off the court. At the time, the Bucks were coming off a pretty bad season, meaning fan engagement was an even more important goal for the team.

The first thing he mentions regarding fan engagement is appealing to fans all across the spectrum. Be it the hardcore fan that’s a season ticket holder, or the super casual who just came to the game because their friend brought them. He mentions the dance team and dunk team. He says the goal is for every fan to leave thinking: “That was fun”.

At Division II schools, this is a good strategy to bring in students that may not be big sport fans. Providing other entertainment and opportunities for socialization can be big draws for less popular sports.

Another one of the main strategies he talks about it social media engagement. Millennials are often cited for their use of social media and desire for constant connections. This allows for perfect opportunity for marketing. This works especially well if the team has young players that have grown up with social media in the for front. Allowing these young players to express their individuality can engage fans and have fans see them as more than just athletes.

This is a tactic that can work especially well at a Div II school because the size of the school means that athletes likely know a relatively large amount of students. This can work very well if they have good relationships with students, bringing more of them to games. However, this can also be deadly to a small school fan base if a player has several bad relationships. Those scorned and their friends will have a very negative view of the team and that opinion could spread very quickly.

-Quinten Squires