I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
A very observant MGoUser (I can’t remember who it was though) mentioned in a thread about the Sugar Bowl Jerseys that ALL of Michigan’s athletics jerseys now sport a Block M, across all sports. This wasn’t always the case. The Block M just found its way onto the “normal” home and away football jerseys this year (on the neck)
Not just with Football Jerseys, we’ve seen Block Ms appearing all over campus like never before. No longer is the “split M”
Acceptable, at this point, it’s Block M or Bust.
Old Scoreboard front:
Old Yost Scoreboard:
Now this isn’t a rant, and I’m not trying to criticize Michigan for the proliferation of the Block M. In fact, Michigan is just following current marketing and branding trends. All over the corporate world the trend is towards the simple. Get rid of words, use symbols, and use them everywhere. Simplicity is king.
A few examples of the corporate world:
Michigan is just following industry trends at this point with the Block M. One simple symbol. Everywhere. Get used to seeing this, it’s not going anywhere.
Sorry if this is too far off topic for this week, but I thought it was a very interesting article. Especially when we debate the various moves Dave Brandon makes to our athletic department.
I think this is a key paragraph:
Tradition? Tradition is great where it's a sellable, marketable commodity. Alabama can sell tradition. Penn State can sell tradition. Michigan can sell tradition. At those places, tradition is the differentiation, but at the schools where it's not? They have to go in the opposite direction. And no one has done that better, or more consciously, than Nike and Oregon, which for the purposes of this conversation are essentially one and the same. Oregon's tradition at this point is the overtly embraced lack of tradition. Change.
The one thing about that is - how well does it sell when you're copying Oregon (like ASU) or Boise State (with colored fields popping up over the country)? Tradition is a brand, and so is "change." But "change" and "bucking the trend" works best if you're original. Otherwise you're just more noise.
It also makes me cringe a bit to hear that "Nike and Oregon are essentially one and the same." I'm happy Michigan doesn't have that relationship with, say, Ford's.
Today, the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit (MSED) hosted their "Summer Tailgate Luncheon: The Business of Branding College Athletics" featuring Dave Brandon and Mark Hollis.
The event was livestreamed and is now available to watch at the MSED link above, but I didn't catch onto it until I saw a Kyle Meinke retweet of new A2.com Michigan basketball reporter Nick Baumgardner (give him a follow, BTW).
Baumgardner's article at A2.com focuses on the issue of paying athletes.
...Michigan’s second-year athletic director got right to the point when asked his thoughts on the pay for play debate.
“I’m flatly opposed to this notion of paying student-athletes,” Brandon said. “I don’t think you could possibly coach a team where part of them are being compensated and part of them are not.
“Once you start paying them as if they were employees, then you’re going to be 1099ing these folks, bringing in accountants and lawyers to work through tax issues which leads to contract negotiations and probably even a union. It’s just absurd.”
Meinke's article is broader in its focus with quotes about the lacrosse program, social media, revenue sources, what "wow" means, among other items.
Brandon said building brands — which is a primary reason why he took the job at Michigan — is about more than the product that is put on the field.
“We’re trying really hard to do some things with event execution that makes our events special. So, when you see people parachuting in with the game ball, when you see Lady Gaga tunes being performed by the marching band, when you see fans using technology in the stadium that afford people the ability to watch replays and keep track of scores, when you see fireworks when we host the largest hockey game in the history of hockey … our first (home) night game in 132 years of Michigan football Sept. 10, we’re working really hard to create events that are memorable.
“Above and beyond the competition, which is most important, we want to create wows for our customers, those fans and those reporters who make that programs work.”
Here are Baumgardner's and Meinke's tweets from the event. Caution, these are tweets that were made as the event unfolded. They aren't always exact quotes and they often lack context.
- Meinke: Theme of banquet is branding in sports. With respect to Mark Hollis, Dave Brandon seems like a pretty appropriate speaker.
- Meinke: Brandon: sports are the "front porch" to universities.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says if you want a strong brand, first up is 'you'd better run a clean program.'
- Meinke: Brandon: the impact of NCAA violations on brands is "phenomenal." Pointed to example he "walked into" and at Michigan, situation at Miami.
- Baumgardner: Brandon discusses importance of creating 'wows' for customers/fans. Night game, Big Chill, etc.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says adding lax was part of the department's 'grow in every way' strategy. Also, allows school to build brand, increase donors.
- Meinke: Brandon on why he added lacrosse: strategic initiative to increase number of sports/athletes. Lax adds 85 athletes, 25 scholarships.
- Baumgardner: Michigan received $5 million in lacrosse donor money in six months.
- Meinke: Brandon said plans under way for fundraising, planning for new lacrosse facilities. Plans to invest millions in program.
- Baumgardner: Hollis jokes with Brandon 'I wish I had your budget -- I wish I had half your budget.'
- Baumgardner: Hollis jokes he's glad UM has vid boards this year, because MSU is doing the same next year -- and will make them 'bigger and better.'
- Meinke: Hollis said he knows he has sports at MSU, such as wrestling and swimming, for which the school doesn't give its teams a chance to compete.
- Baumgardner: Brandon: social media creates great opportunity for college athletics, but also brings a big risk factor.
- Meinke: Hollis said he has two or three meetings ever week with athletes/coaches regarding use of Twitter.
- Meinke: Brandon: 'I think every athletic director sleeps with one eye open because of the temptation that faces their kids.'
- Baumbardner: Brandon states the obvious -- football moves Michigan's needle, and so he watches the program 'real close.'
- Meinke: Brandon said he's fortunate bc as economy soured, UM's revenue has grown double-digits bc of Michigan Stadium suites. Expects same this yr
- Meinke: Brandon said UM football accounts for 66% of AD revenue. "if you're going to put all your eggs in 1 basket, you better watch your basket"
- Meinke: Brandon, on today's recruiting: "If I would have told Bo I was going to announce my decision at a press conference, he would have killed me"
- Baumgardner: Brandon gives big props to @BigTenNetwork and its impact on the brand of every league program.
- Baumgardner: Brandon says he's flatly opposed to notion of paying student-athletes.
- Meinke: [Brandon] said almost every athlete has no "commerciality"
- Baumgardner: Both ADs asked if it's time to come up with a new name for the conference. Hollis: 'No.' Brandon: 'Hell, no.'
- Baumgardner: Brandon says he gets more advice than ever with his job, jokes that 'and I thought people were serious about pizza ...'
- Meinke: Brandon: I used to think people had strong opinions about pizza. Now, if I piss off 20% of the people, I think I'm doing pretty good.
Lots to chew on there. Have at it.
So the Athletic Department will now officially endorse ticket scalping through Stubhub, as long as they get a cut.
I've never used Stubhub, but from what I've read it's usually expensive and Stubhub takes a huge cut (which forces prices even higher). The part that makes me most nervous is this:
Throughout the 2011-12 Wolverine athletic season, StubHub marketing assets will be highly visible across football, basketball and hockey properties for the University. StubHub will host a football hospitality event for the historic, first-ever night game at Michigan Stadium, which is Sept. 10 against Notre Dame. Additionally, StubHub will be featured courtside, on dasher board signs, and via radio promotions. The partnership will round out with MGoBlue.com strategic placements and social media elements.
It's just one step closer to advertising inside Michigan Stadium. And if the Stubhub logo appears on the face of the (probably collectors items) Notre Dame/Nebraska/Ohio State tickets, there will probably be a riot toward Dave Brandon's office.
Not a whole lot of new ground here, but Adam Rittenberg gets an interview with David Brandon about "branding" and the Michigan athletic department.
Money quote for me:
People want Michigan to be on the national stage. They want us to be innovative. They want us to embrace our traditions -- and I do, I'm a part of that tradition -- but I also believe there's a lot of people that want us to be fresh and to be competitive, not just on the field through performance but also in the way we present our program to the nation.