#ExOps18 is in the books and by all indications, it was a rousing success. Huge thanks goes out to Brad Wurthman, Ryan Peck, Chris Ferris and Daniel Veale for traveling to Norman, spending a couple days with us and contributing great information to the discussion. Thanks also goes out to everyone who joined remotely. We were excited to see that people from the industry were tuning in, asking questions and participating in the discussion. We had a great time, learned a lot and have a lot of notes on ways to make #ExOps19 even more engaging and valuable for everyone.

We covered a number of topics during our day-and-a-half of discussions. You can watch it all for yourself on the Old Hat Facebook page or you can simply read my recap below.

An Unconventional Look at How to Drive Attendance
We kicked things off on Thursday morning with a private presentation I've developed that addresses what I see as a new way looking at collegiate athletics marketing. The group in the room served as my test audience. I do a number of speaking engagements in the spring, and this will be a topic I cover when visiting with athletics marketing groups. In my opinion, we should take a much different approach if we want to fill our stadiums and arenas. In this presentation, I outline what I believe is that approach. Be on the lookout for a webinar of this presentation coming soon.

Major in the Majors
Next up, we had Brad Wurthman of Virginia Tech walk us through a presentation called "Major in the Majors" where he outlined steps he feels we should be taking to focus on the things that truly matter. Brad pointed out that it's difficult to not get bogged down in the minutia and lose sight of the majors, or the big things we actually should be paying attention to. Brad asked questions like, "What's your why?" and "What are we chasing?" and also laid down some golden wisdom with comments like, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," and my personal favorite, "We don't want our staff to do more, we want them to do different." Check out his presentation slides here, but I also highly recommend you follow along by listening to the Facebook video feed for a more valuable experience hearing it directly from Brad. 

Roundtable Discussion
After Brad's presentation, Chris Ferris of Colorado State led a discussion on various external operations topics. One strong area of focus was that of student attendance. Everyone felt strongly that despite student attendance being a non-factor in direct revenue generation, there are ancillary benefits that cause indirect increases in revenue. The most obvious of those is the effect students have on the overall gameday experience. Games are more exciting and more fun if the students are there. That, paired with the idea that students are your future season ticket holders and donors, brought us to the conclusion that when the old fans are complaining about the loud music and song selection, but your students love it, you err on the side of pleasing the students. Those die-hard older fans aren't going to stop coming because of the music, but your students won't turn into die-hard fans if you don't give them a great experience.

Effects of the New Tax Code on Fundraising
After a lunch break, we came back to another roundtable discussion led by Ryan Peck of North Texas. We went through what the old code states about tax-deductible gifts and what the new code says. We also talked through a number of things different athletic departments have done to try to prepare for the unknown, but "the unknown" was really where we landed on this topic. The fact is, no one really knows how, or if, the new tax code is going to affect the industry. After some initial panic toward the end of 2017, most of the people at the table agreed that it might not be a major issue. Toward the end of this discussion, we also touched on the topic of data analytics, predictive analysis, look-alike modeling and marketing automation.

Virginia Tech Ticket Sales Strategic Planning Session
Having spent the past few hours in discussion, we turned the live-stream off to get our hands dirty with a little strategic planning for Hokies football and men's basketball. Due to the proprietary nature of both the client information being shared, along with wanting to keep our process for making strategic marketing recommendations under wraps, we didn't broadcast this part to the masses. However, I can tell you that ahead of time, Brad Wurthman gave us a goal he's hoping to achieve: increase non-season ticket sales for football and men's basketball. We dug through the data gathered from surveys we'd conducted, talked through some of the issues Va Tech is facing, and looked at census data and historical sales information before calling it a day. This part of the process was all about information gathering. We haven't completed our strategic plan yet, but we will be doing so in the coming weeks and delivering that to Va Tech with a full list of recommendations to help them achieve that goal in a targeted and strategic manner.

2018 Digital Marketing Trends
We kicked things off on Day 2 with a live-streamed presentation from Old Hat's Director of Web/Digital, Kevin Kelly, on the topic of web and digital trends for 2018. Kevin shared some great statistics on the impact of video engagement vs. the traditional means of communicating on social media. Some of those stats:

- 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video vs reading
- 1 in 4 consumers lose interest in product if there's no video about that product
- 4 in 5 consumers say video of how a product works is important in decision to buy
- 95% of a message is retained when watched in video vs. 10% when reading

One idea that was thrown out as a result of this is that maybe instead of having our internal video production crews focus so heavily on high-impact, emotionally driven videos, we should ask them to produce more informational videos that actually communicate a message about our product.

Other topics that were covered are too many to name, but I'll be asking Kevin to develop this into a webinar in the spring - so stay tuned for that. There's some great information that can help us better engage with our fans.

Responding to a Changing Industry
For the final segment of #ExOps18, we turned off the live stream and talked through ways Old Hat can better serve the industry. When I started Old Hat 14 years ago, we were a traditional creative production shop, and we were selling a service the industry was already buying and knew it needed. Old Hat just offered a better version of it at a competitive price. However, as I've seen the industry shift, I've realized the need for our marketing to be much more strategic. Therefore, we developed a wide range of strategic marketing services that include data collection, analysis and strategic recommendations that can help an athletics organization identify who specifically to target, where to find them, how to message to them and how to measure the results. Unlike posters, videos and schedule cards, this list of services is not one the industry already knows it needs. During this discussion, we talked through ways of shifting the industry's perception on what marketing should look like and how to convince athletic departments to look at the product they're selling the same way other industries view their own products and services. That is through doing research, developing insight into who to reach and how to reach them and then rolling out a strategic marketing message in the right ways to the right people.

Overall, it was one of the most fun and most valuable day-and-a-halves in my entire career. Outside the walls of that conference room, we ate a lot of great food, learned a lot about each other and enjoyed the company of some very progressive and forward-thinking minds in collegiate athletics. There were so many people that came together behind-the-scenes to make this a reality, and my sincere gratitude goes out to all of them. We can't wait to do it again next year.

After months of planning, we are excited to announce the first ever Collegiate Athletics External Operations Symposium, or as we like to call it, #ExOps18. What is #ExOps18, you ask? Great question!

#ExOps18 is an opportunity for anyone working in collegiate athletics to learn about and discuss the topics at the forefront of the minds of those charged with ticket sales, increasing attendance, game experience and fundraising - the "external operations" of collegiate athletics. We're starting small and because of the luxuries the web provides us, year one will primarily be an event you can attend remotely. No need to worry about getting approved to spend money to attend. That's assuming, of course, that your university isn't on AOL's pay-per-minute internet service. If so, maybe you can collect some "free trial" disks in the mail and attend next year.

Fortunately for you though, not everyone is attending remotely. Old Hat has invited four of the top minds from collegiate athletics marketing and fundraising to be on-site to present, discuss and field questions. Those minds belong to:

Chris Ferris
Senior Associate AD for Sales, Marketing and Communications
Colorado State University

Ryan Peck
Executive Senior Associate AD for External Affairs
University of North Texas

Daniel Veale
Director of Marketing
SMU

Brad Wurthman
Senior Associate AD for External Affairs
Virginia Tech

On January 25 and 26, these four people will gather at Old Hat world headquarters for a day-and-a-half to discuss the topics that are weighing most heavily on their minds. Portions of those discussions will be live streamed via Facebook Live (link: ExOps.live), and we're inviting you to listen in and be a part of the conversation. You will be able to send in questions ahead of time, ask questions live via Twitter using the #ExOps18 hashtag or submit questions in the comments on the Facebook Live video stream. Below is an agenda for the event and a list of topics we will be discussing, so mark your calendars and get ready to plop down in front of your computer next Thursday and Friday for some great conversation.

Please note: Portions of the days' events will not be live streamed due to proprietary and confidential information being shared. The segments that will be live streamed are indicated below.

 

Thursday, January 25 - All times Central

9:00 a.m. (LIVE) - Welcome, Introductions and Icebreaker 

9:30 a.m. (PRIVATE)- An Unconventional Look at How to Drive Attendance: An internal discussion on fan behavior  - Zac Logsdon, CEO, Old Hat 

10:15 a.m. (LIVE) - Major in the Majors: Filtering out the unimportant and concentrating on valuable metrics - Brad Wurthman, Virginia Tech

10:45 a.m. (LIVE) - Q&A session Brad Wurthman 

11:15 a.m. (LIVE) - Marketing/Ticket Sales Roundtable discussion, led by Chris Ferris, Colorado State - Topics to include: Increasing Student Attendance, Growth Metrics that Matter, Data Analytics and How do you measure engagement?

Noon - Break for Lunch

1:30 p.m. (LIVE) - Fundraising/Development Roundtable discussion, led by Ryan Peck, North Texas - Impact of the new tax code on fundraising

2:30 p.m. (PRIVATE) - Strategic Planning Session for Virginia Tech Ticket Sales

5:00 p.m. - Break for the day

 

Friday, January 26 - All times Central

9:00 a.m. (LIVE) - Digital Marketing Marketing Trends for 2018 Presentation/Discussion - Kevin Kelly, Director of Digital/Web, Old Hat

9:45 a.m. (LIVE) - Q&A - Last opportunity to ask our guests questions

10:15 a.m. (PRIVATE) - Internal Discussion on new products/services, positioning and adapting to the changing market

Noon - #ExOps18 Ends

 

 

In 2018 we're looking back at some of our favorite designs from the previous year and asking our artists "What were you thinking?" Your eyes might go directly to the players or the schedule, but there are so many subtleties that make a design come together.  

 

If you're thinking to yourself this year's Western Michigan Men's Basketball poster seems very systematic, hydromatic, and/or ultramatic you might be right. 

Here is our chat with Director of Branding and possible former greaser Jared Stanley about his creation.

 

What was the inspiration behind this design concept?
My inspiration for this, believe it or not, was the interior of an expensive car. I wanted it to look like it was made out of leather and have beveled gold inlays and fancy stitching.

What was your main goal / what were you trying to accomplish with this design?
My main goal with this project was to create a look that was clean, classic and simple. I also wanted to create a composition that mimicked the shape of a W (for the Western in Western Michigan).

What is your favorite design element of this project?
The leather texture and the stitching.

What was the biggest challenge of this design?
Figuring out how to include 10 guys in the shape of a W without it looking too crowded.

If you could change one thing about this project what would it be?
I would have liked to spend more time on the text effects. I really wanted those to have more of a shine to them. I wanted it to look like gold/metal with things like sense flares and light reflections.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "What was the artist thinking when they created this design?" Depending on your tone you either LOVED or HATED the design. If we happened to collaborate with your team on a project we always hope you love it. Cool looking designs are always the goal.

As we kick off 2018 we're going to take a look back at some of our favorite projects from the previous year and pick the brains of our very talented artists. You might be surprised to learn there is a rhyme and reason to even the simplest of designs.

Here is our chat with Art Director Caitlin Murphy about her work on the Florida International University Swimming and Diving poster. 

What was the inspiration behind this design concept?
FIU mentioned that they wanted the swimmers to look like they are coming out of the water and have the 3 championship trophies behind them. I wanted to make the athletes looks like they were in the water but also have the trophies stand out and glow in the background. My inspiration was sort of a fire/water element together.

What was your main goal / what were you trying to accomplish with this design?
My main goal was to make it look like the athletes were actually in the water. The pictures of the athletes we received from FIU were of them standing by a backdrop so trying to make water images/elements look realistic around them was what I was hoping to accomplish.

What is your favorite design element of this project?
The reflection of the athletes in the water and the water coming off their torsos. It was fun to play with the perspective of the swimmers and ripple effects to make it look more watery realistic instead of just their straight reflection.

What was the biggest challenge of this design?
My biggest challenge was trying to make the water/splashes look realistic. I have never worked with water elements before so it was more of a trial/error thing to see what worked/didn’t work as I went along. I went through many different splash elements that didn’t work until I finally found 2-3 that looked like they blended and worked well together.

If you could change one thing about this project what would it be?
I would have liked to incorporate the “ALL IN” header into the design a little more. The ALL IN header was a late addition so I had already envisioned the poster a certain way and laid out the design with all of the elements. So although I had thoughts of how I could have incorporated the ALL IN header more with the water/fire effects, it would have meant changing around the poster as a whole.

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that Taylor Swift’s new album just dropped. For the record: she’s amazing. So when I found out she would only release her new album on iTunes, I was really stuck in a hard place because I am a full supporter of Spotify (and ONLY Spotify). After a whopping 4 hours, I caved in, went on iTunes and bought the album. It has now been four days since the album dropped and I’ve listened to it about a thousand times. I know every lyric to every song, and no matter how tired my coworkers get of it, I plan to keep on listening.

You might be wondering two things at this point. First, is this whole blog post going to be about my Taylor Swift obsession? And second, what could this possibly have to do with sports marketing?

The answers are (1) no (although trust me, I could go on about her) and (2) a lot more than you might think.

While Taylor may not be everyone’s cup of tea, nearly everyone has a favorite song or favorite artist. No matter what you’re into, pretty much all music has something in common: each song is a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The next time you’re listening to a song, try to listen for all the layers of music and lyrics that make up the song. Whether it’s a supporting lyric behind main lyrics, a new melody behind the chorus, or the subtle addition of a new instrument, each minor element works together to create a great melody. When you take apart the layers of vocals and instruments, the pieces may not make sense by themselves. But when you add them all together, something magical happens.

I relate music to design in this sense- they are both trying to tell a story in different ways. Adding the right extra details or layers can create a design that communicates something more powerful and emotional than you ever would have imagined when you were only looking at one little piece of it.

Every design file starts with a blank flat white layer. But in sports, something is ALWAYS moving, whether it’s you, your teammate, the ball, or even your angry coach yelling at you. So how do you convey the depth and movement of sports with this white, blank layer? You have to combine different elements in a way that brings out that feeling.

Below is a Photoshop file of a poster that I created. I only have about 5 layers open. While the piece could be finished because it has all the basic elements (the required players, the schedule, a minor textured background and the header), it’s just kind of there. Your eyes don’t move around the piece and it doesn’t create an excitement (at least it doesn’t for me). It’s not bad, but is it really good enough? Could it be great? When I continue to add layers, it makes this flat, white file come to life with movement. Some layers contain only 1 or 2 pieces of content but when you add all the contents together, it creates a beautiful piece. Just like music.

The next time you’re listening to one of your favorite song, let your ears listen BEHIND the main lyrics. Close your eyes and hear all the individual layers that would be boring and nothing by themselves, but that create a beautiful song when they’re brought together. When you start doing this, you’ll find new layers you hadn’t noticed before. Likewise, the next time you look at a poster or an intro video, try to look beyond the main image. Look at the layers, colors, and elements that are connecting the corners, the words, and the players. Each layer has its own story as to why it’s there. Together, they create something that’s great rather than simply good enough.

For as long as I've been working in athletics, this industry has always focused heavily on project work. Meaning, it is rare that you find an athletic department that engages a firm or a designer to be a strategic partner. Most of the time, it's more about finding a designer or firm that can quickly churn out random projects. While that type of partner may meet your short-term needs from an efficiency (time-to-market) standpoint when you need last minute help, it’s not a partnership that’s going to help you move the needle in a meaningful way.

Here’s why treating the external designer or creative agency you work with as a strategic partner helps you get the most bang out of your marketing buck.

1. They’re able to think strategically on your behalf. When your partner understands your strategic plan, they’re going to be a lot more successful in designing projects that help you achieve your goals. That’s because they’ll be more likely to ask critical questions (like why you’re doing the project, why a certain message is your priority, and why certain media channels have been selected) or already know the answers to those types of questions. This knowledge translates into work that delivers meaningful impact.

2. They’re more likely to get it right the first time. When you hand a designer or creative agency a random project, they often won’t be aware of what has worked for you in the past or the nuances of your brand. That makes it a lot harder for them to come back to you with something that really resonates with you and your fans or donors. When a designer or firm is familiar with your brand and your strategy, they’re better able to deliver something that meets or exceeds your expectations without needing a lot of edits.

3. Your brand will be more consistent. Even if you’ve used a particular individual or firm before, there will be a gap in their brand familiarity if you only rely on them in a pinch. That increases the risk that they’ll design something that isn’t entirely on brand. Inconsistent messaging disrupts brand momentum and degrades the trust of both your staff and your fans. When your firm or designer is regularly part of conversations about your brand and its evolution, they’re able to help you deliver the right message to the right people through the right channels.

Treating your external designer or creative agency as a strategic partner enables us to do what we do best: discover how to connect the department’s objectives to fans’ needs. It means marketing decisions are made based on the strategic plan and with attention to brand values and positioning, not just on a “how quickly can we get this out there” basis. These practices help to create a stable, trusted brand in the minds of staff, fans and the community.

Everyone seems to be talking about Snapchat as the hot new social media platform. Actually, it really isn’t that new. Snapchat first made an appearance in 2011. Let’s put some perspective around that. Remember the hit song “Friday” by Rebecca Black? What about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? The final installment of Harry Potter was released. Yeah, Snapchat has been out that long! 

The platform has made some major strides the past year that have contributed to its growth. Here’s what you need to know about how Snapchat is growing up. 

1. Millennials and Gen Z have gotten on board.

If you want to connect with younger generations, Snapchat is where it’s at. The platform is basically a glorified emoji creator, so it really resonates with consumers who have embraced the emoji trend.

 

Millennials and Gen Z use the platform to communicate with their friends in fun creative photos. If your brand wants to reach users via Snapchat, keep that in mind. Snapchatters want to be entertained, not sold to. If you decide to add Snapchat to your marketing mix, do it with content that leans into the fun, quirky aspect of the platform.

2. It’s not permanent.

Snapchat deletes all content after a 24 hour period. With social media being so prominent, a lot of users try to keep their channels clean and concise. The fact that Snapchat does the work for them has contributed to the platform’s popularity.

As a marketer this can be confusing. How do you maintain a channel that doesn’t have content on it? They key with Snapchat is maintaining a consistent presence and voice. NASCAR is a brand that currently does this well. They have a staff member who controls their Snapchat and is constantly adding new content.

3. Geofilters.

Snapchat users love a fun, interactive geofilter because it’s a way of being in the moment in a particular location.

As a marketer you can log into the backend of Snapchat and draw a geofence around the area you want the geofilter to be placed. This gives marketers full control of the area in which the filter will be seen. You have to pay for geofilters, but they’re relatively inexpensive. Snapchat has adjusted its pricing to offer an annual plan that allows you to maintain a geofenced area and swap out your creative filter as often as you like.

4. Snapmap

If you have been hiding under a rock the past couple of weeks you might have missed Snapchats biggest update, the Snap Map. This new feature allows users to share their location on an interactive map.

Think of it as a way for users to find their friends and join in on their activities. Well, that is how Snapchat is selling it. With the initial launch there has been a lot of fear in “strangers” finding users. This is is not 100% verified because the map will only show your friends. So a random user will not be able to find you.

As a marketer this new feature doesn’t lend itself to you. There is no advertising you can do in this and we don’t see that happening anytime soon. What you as a marketer can do with this feature is see what hot events are happening around you. If you want to do some event marketing and be where a lot of users are, check the map and see the live hot spots. If a sporting event is happening you will see a red spot on the map, and if you click on that red spot you will start seeing snapstories. Don’t worry it doesn’t share Snapchat usernames, just the content you are sharing. This is your time to send staff to these locations to do some guerilla marketing.

Overall the platform is still focusing on the user and not marketers. That could change in the near future because Snapchat is now open to investors and with dropping numbers the platform will need to start pulling in more dollars. For now, enjoy the platform and don’t stress about being perfect with it.

The need for creative content has never been greater in the world of athletics than it is right now. From traditional media that have been around for years like posters, ads, ticket stock and billboards, to the newer forms of creative output like social media graphics, recruiting graphics and the beloved animated gifs, the new truth is this: you need designers. The problem is, many athletic organizations don't have experience hiring for that position. And they don't have creative directors that leading a team of designers that they can lean on to head that up. No, many times it falls to sports information directors, sport operations managers or marketing directors to hire for a skill set they do not possess. They know what to look for when hiring a coach. They know what to look for when hiring marketing assistants or sports info assistants. But hiring designers is tough. Hiring designers with an eye for sports is nearly impossible.

I've spent nearly two decades in athletics creative and for the past 14 years, I've hired or been a part of the hiring of a lot of designers, editors, animators and other creatives to help Old Hat develop top notch creative for the more than 150 sports organizations we've worked with. We have a process and we know what to look for (and not look for) when identifying talented individuals that know how to produce for sports. So here are some tips and tricks that can help you in your search for someone that can churn out all those social media graphics on signing day.

1. There's no "Eye" in Team - I've seen hundreds of portfolios and interviewed countless designers. Some of them are extremely talented. But an eye for design doesn't always equate to an eye for sports design. Sports design is a different animal and to succeed in this industry, you have to look at design a little bit differently. Most of the design world operates on a "less is more" philosophy. But I've always said that sports subscribes to the "more is more" design philosophy. So one thing to make sure you look for is someone that knows sports and has an eye for sports design. Some will have examples of that in their portfolio but for those that do not...

2. This is a test - No matter how talented they appear to be or how many examples of amazing sports projects they have in their portfolio, always send them a test project. Primarily, this shows me what they can do with a project from scratch. For all I know, their portfolio is full of ads they resized from another designer's template. So send them your logo, a few photos of your athletes, tell them what to create and see what they send back. You'd be surprised by how many designers that have amazing portfolios send back test projects that fall completely flat. If you get something amazing back from them, you're on the right track. But there are other things to keep in mind, like...

3. It's about more than talent  - Talent can get you far but the sports industry is a lot more fast-paced than most. Sometimes we have to produce things with quick turnaround. Actually, that happens more often than not. And great designers have a reputation for wanting to take their time to get it just right. You also want to know how well they follow instructions, how well the can stay on brand and what their attitude is like when you give them feedback. So as a part of your test project, make sure to give them basic instruction on the design, but specific instructions on content. You want to see how the operate with creative freedom but you also want to make sure they can follow instructions. Give them a specific deadline and if they don't meet it, mark them off the list (bonus points for sending it early). Then, if you really want to get a feel for 1) how they are to work with and 2) how much they want the job, send revisions.  At this point, you'll know if they have an eye for sports design, you'll know how good they are and you'll know how fast they are. What else do you need to know about them?

4. For love of the game - They might be good, they might be fast and they might have great attention to detail. But do they love sports? You're going to get a lot more out of them if they do. You want someone that gets excited by what they're doing for you. I always ask, "If you could get a job designing for any industry, what would it be?" or "What's the most fun design project you've ever worked on?" If their answer is that they want to work in the fashion industry or that their favorite design project was their cousin's wedding invitation, they're not for you. That's not to say that you can't get good work out of someone that doesn't love sports but if they're not passionate about what they do, the long hours, tight deadlines and coaches that change their minds 12 times are going to wear on them and their time with your organization will be short-lived. If you can find someone that has an eye for sports design, nails the test project, follows instructions, meets deadlines and absolutely loves sports... HIRE THEM. However, if you want to take it one step further, there's one more thing you can look for that will get you the holy grail of sports designers...

5. What color do they bleed? - This one is easy because you don't have to even ask them the question to find out the answer. Look at their resumĂ© and see where they went to school. If they attended the some other institution, that's fine. They're probably worth hiring anyway. But if they list your school as their alma mater, that's one more mark in the W column for them because I can assure you that they'll pour themselves into their jobs even more if they have a pride in the organization they're working for. This doesn't work, of course, if you're hiring for a professional organization. But you can solve this simply by asking who their favorite teams are. Or simply look at where they're from. If you're hiring for the Pittsburgh Steelers and your candidate grew up in Dallas, they might not have the passion for the Steelers you want them to have. But if you find someone that meets all the criteria for a great sports designer and they went to your school or grew up in your town, you have a winner.

 

We Hire, Train and Consult

One thing to keep in mind is that if you still don't feel comfortable facilitating the hiring process, or if you'd like to have someone to train that individual prior to them taking their seat within your organization, is that Old Hat offers creative staffing services as a part of our mission to help sports organizations drive attendance to their events. We believe strongly that great creative can help fill the stands and we want to help organizations achieve that goal in every way possible. Therefore, we developed a program where we serve as your proxy to hire your creative staff. Here's how it works:

1. We Identify Candidates - We tap our network of sports designers we know from coast-to-coast to see who may be interested in a job in your organization. We also post the job on multiple creative job boards to get as large a pool as possible that are interested in working for you.

2. We Test Them - Over many years we have developed a number of test projects depending upon the job description and we put the candidates through the rigors to figure out who best meets the requirements. 

3. We Interview - We narrow the pool based on talent and we interview them to see who would be the best fit.

4. We Recommend - Based on our tests and interviews, we submit a list of qualified candidates to you. You are the final decision maker on who gets the job.

5. We Train - As a part of our program, we bring your new staff member to Old Hat HQ to spend 2-4 weeks training under our design staff. We put them through a crash course in file management, project management, how to field requests, design tips and tricks, photography, motion graphics and more to make sure they are ready to roll when they begin working for you.

6. We Consult - The hardest part about being a designer in a sports organization is that often times, you're on an island. You're not surrounded by other creatives that you can learn from, bounce ideas off of, etc. It's a lonely gig. Old Hat solves this by being on retainer to answer questions, provide input and allow your designer to submit their ideas for feedback. 

If you're interested in finding out more about our creative hiring services, download this PDF, email me at zac@oldhatcreative.com or call (405) 310-2133 x118.

If you've been attending NACDA/NACMA regularly each year, you know that it's a lot like celebrating the new year for college athletics. We all make plans for the big event- even make resolutions about how things are going to be different next year, and after it's all said and done we're scrambling like we have every year past, just hoping we can stick to those resolutions we were so fired up about just a few weeks before.

Well NACMA has come and gone, so here's hoping that you're able to stick to your guns this year.

For Old Hat, this year's NACMA was a busy one. Besides the preparation and couple of days in the exhibit hall at the booth, we hosted our Chilla in the Villa on Sunday night, Zac had just released his new book If Not for Athletics so he was signing and selling those each day. We also held a session for social media/Snapchat on Wednesday. There was a lot going on, but we know that pushing ourselves for these few days pays dividends later. I think that's the mindset of everyone there and the reason we're all so exhausted by the time we get back home.

We've learned over the years that NACMA is the place we go to cultivate those relationships we've developed over the years and start forming new relationships. Sure, we want you to know about Old Hat and what we do, but that's just bonus for those that have never heard of us. The people we meet are most important: What we do for them will impact many other lives. That's what the world of sports is all about. If you don't believe me, just read Zac's book.

And now, a photo recap:

 

We understand that environmental branding is imperative in appealing to fans and is a game-changer in the recruiting process. We also know that big projects often mean big investments and sometimes big headaches! We wanted to find out more about the challenges you face when it comes to projects involving large-scale graphics, so we recently conducted a survey through our new company, Powerhouse.

Here are a few things we learned through the Powerhouse Environmental Graphics Survey:

1. You believe environmental graphics projects are effective.

Only 14% of survey respondents said that the environmental graphics projects they’ve done in the past 24 months weren’t effective at all. We’re not surprised, because large-scale graphics projects are a great way to influence the energy of student-athletes, administrators, donors and fans. The big question to ask yourself is: are your environmental graphics projects as effective as you’d like them to be?

2. You prefer local partners, but don’t always use them.

80% percent of survey participants agreed that using local printers and installers is an important consideration when creating environmental graphics. Pricing and creative design capability were the top two reasons cited for choosing to work with a supplier outside the local area.

3. Football and basketball rule the roost.

Not surprisingly, basketball and football facilities were identified as the main focus for environmental graphics investments. The environmental graphics used in these facilities were also seen as the most effective by survey participants.

For more survey data and insights, see the full survey report here

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