Every summer I attend a women’s football clinic at my alma mater. I love it - maybe because I get to work out some rage on a tackling dummy - or maybe because I get to perfect my spiral - either way, it’s an opportunity to spend time at a place I love dearly and to connect with those that feel the same way.
During this football clinic they have a few friendly competitions, like running drills. And there’s also a tattoo competition. Yes, that’s correct. They poll the audience for women who have the school’s logo tattooed and the woman with the biggest tattoo wins.
And I still haven’t won.
But a university’s brand is sacred. And that affinity for the brand often begins within the athletic programs. It’s where you cheer for your team, wear the jersey of your favorite athlete, and bond with fans over exhilarating wins and devastating losses. It’s this brand that beckons future talent and drives recruitment. It’s also this brand that continues to engage alumni, resulting in revenue generation.
So what steps can you take to further build your brand - outside of tattooing people? Here are 4 ways you can extend your brand.
Since I shared my own alma mater clinic story, let’s start with camps! Camps provide an extension of your brand both in-person and online. They also act as an excellent opportunity to identify and recruit future athletic talent to the university. But while your managing the brand and camp experience, you also carry the heavy burden of logistics and financial policy. With the right tools you can have a customized professional website for your camp, as well as manage online enrollment, registrant management and payment, and contact lists and email reminders to campers and parents.
Speaking of websites, your camp website isn’t the only site that can benefit from a little TLC. Of course you want your site to represent your brand, but you also want it to engage your fans on the platforms that matter most to them. Your website needs to offer video, smartphone and tablet compatibility, a mobile app option, and include your social media feeds.
And while we’re on the topic of smartphone and tablet compatibility - let’s chat apps. Apps give you the chance for real-time communication with your fans. They not only contribute to the look and feel of your brand, but they also create an interactive experience with the brand through schedule, score, and stat alerts.
When we think about fan engagement we tend to default to the person cheering in the stands. But what about the thousands more that can’t make it to the stands? Your brand needs to extend beyond the in-person experience to the online experience. Your brand deserves to be elevated above those sites where you’re one of hundreds of different sporting events. Your live streaming experience should honor your brand with a dynamic, attractive, and informative portal, custom built for your athletic program - built for your own brand.
Building your brand benefits recruitment, alumni revenue generation, and an all-inclusive sports experience for your athletes and fans. Maybe brand strength shouldn’t be decided by tattoos - but there are certainly many other ways in which you can develop and measure your brand.