How can we take game day to the next level? How can we make game day more than just a spectator experience? How do we get our students to buy in?
Explore the importance of developing a unique brand story for your student section.
Why Does Brand Matter?
In today’s climate, identity is everything. Where you’re from, how you vote, where you live, and the friends you surround yourself with have a large impact on identity, both internally and in how one is perceived. Branding is everything, because your brand is your identity.
Think of the best brands in the world. Names like Nike and Apple come to mind. Similar brands are REI and Android, respectively. Someone who wears all Nike may have a completely different set of values and hobbies than someone who rocks all REI clothing, even though both companies sell activewear. Whether we mean to or not, we perceive people differently based on brands.
Think of vehicle brands. Stereotypically, someone who drives a Mercedes-Benz and someone who drives a Jeep are probably going to differ in many ways, and we can guess that just based on the brand of their car.
Your Student Section Brand
When it comes to a student section, branding is equally important. Branding gives students something to identify with. A successful brand makes culture tangible and increases marketing effectiveness. At Biggest Fan, we break down branding into four pillars: Name, Logo, Slogan, and Culture.
A student section name should be all-encompassing. It’s not based on a venue name, a coach, or a player. It should be timeless and unique to your campus culture. Students should be able to say “I am a ______” or “I am part of the ______”. The name of the student section should remain unchanged, no matter what sport the student section is rooting for.
A student section logo should be simple, but unique. Branch out. Don’t just alter the university or high school’s logo. Get creative and make a new logo that represents the brand name. It should be 1-2 colors and look clean on the front of a tee shirt.
Your brand slogan should be a one-liner claiming your unique identity. It should inspire students to want to participate. It can be a statement about who you are or a call to action.
Lastly, know your culture and break it down for your students. Create bullet points so that everyone knows who you are, what you represent, and what is expected from those who join
A Biggest Fan Example
University of California Santa Barbara is home to The Surge. Here is their branding breakdown:
Name: The Surge
This name was selected because UCSB is located on the coast of California and surfing has a large impact on campus culture. A surge is a large wave during a storm. Naming the student section after an intimidating force of nature that also fits within surfing lingo made perfect sense.
Slogan: Beware the Tide
Culture Bullet Points: WE STAND UP. WE GET HYPE. WE CHEER LOUD. ALL GAME. EVERY GAME!
This client is a perfect example of branding done right. A cool name, a sleek logo, and a slogan and culture that gets students hyped up for game day. No student has ever been inspired to paint their face or lose their voice cheering because of a giveaway shirt or free pizza. Focus on building the brand and the culture, and the students will meet you there.