Branding in College Football

College football is becoming one of the biggest sports in the United States – if it’s not there already. The fan base is growing each and every year and to compete with one another, colleges are running their sports departments more like companies than mere pep clubs. Like every smart businessperson knows, a key element in owning a successful business is having a strong image or brand. The same holds true with college football. Take for example, my favorite team, Kansas State University, who has completely re-branded the athletic department from baseball to volleyball and in the middle of it all, K-State football.

It takes a lot of good ideas to build a good brand and K-State has taken some really nice steps forward in the advancement of their brand.

One of the key audiences K-State attempting to grab the attention of is it’s prospective recruiting class. If you are not familiar with the recruiting process, it can be simplified like this: Remember how tough it was to decide which college you’d attend after high school graduation? Well, add to the mix 10 coaches telling what you should be doing.

In this day and age, how the school represents itself across all communication platforms – but especially online – plays a significant role in the decision making process of young athletes. K-State made a smart move by developing a brand that ultimately targets both genders as well as athletes of any sport through a brand that extends to all the athletic divisions of the school.

Let me show you a few examples of brand extension that I think work well.

As these examples portray, every piece of marketing collateral from the K-State athletics department shares common elements. You can tell by looking at these examples that they all belong together. Not only are there commonalities in the print material, but the defined style or brand also extends onto the Internet and other multimedia outlets, where not only do the players each have their own webpage, the Inside K-State Sports microsite serves as one of the best web sites for a college football team that I have ever experienced.

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