2015 was busy! It was filled with lots of projects for a wide variety of clients. When I was asked to share a few of my favorite projects from 2015, I knew it was going to be challenging. Every project is fun and unique in its own way. A few of the projects from 2015 that stick out to me are:
1. Towson Women's Basketball Intro Video
I enjoyed this project because the Towson Women's Basketball coaching staff had a clear vision of what they wanted this video to be. We traveled to Towson to shoot footage of the women's basketball team and Baltimore to bring their vision to life. It was the first video shoot I'd been a part of where we captured footage off campus. My favorite part of the video is how our video crew was able to show the movement of the team and basketball through the iconic locations in Baltimore.
2. Army Football Videos, Graphics and Animations
We had the opportunity to do 6 different videoboard projects for Army football. I really enjoyed these projects because each one was so unique. We had the opportunity to do a high end 3D logo animation, a Make Some Noise crowd prompt animation, a Shuffle game, a Derby game, a hype video and an intro animation for Army to use prior to their own video features. Stay tuned for some awesome new projects for the Army / Navy basketball game on January 23 at Madison Square Garden.
3. Delaware Custom Font and Wordmarks
This project was great because we had the opportunity to create a custom font for the University of Delaware and then used that font to design wordmarks for Delaware and all of their sports. Since Delaware was getting a new uniform supplier, all of these marks were then used on their 2015 team uniforms. It was really cool to see our work being worn by all of the Blue Hen athletes.
4. Duke Social Media Graphics
I enjoyed this project because we were able to work with Duke to create a consistent brand across all of their sports. This included creating profile pictures and cover photos as well as a wide variety of templates and holiday graphics for each sport to use. We based the social media profile and cover images off of the Olympic sport poster template design to create an even more cohesive look.
2016 is already off to a flying start with some exciting projects underway. I'm looking forward to another year of memorable projects!
Old Hat Creative recently launched the website RaiseUpCarolina.com.It was and is a unique project that had some interesting results.
First, while this is not always an option for websites, we were able to meet with the clients face to face and discussed the website. UNC has long been a friend of Old Hat’s, but this was the first website we would be doing with them. Zac and I went to Chapel Hill once together and then Zac returned with Dustin to shoot some of the footage used on the site. We were able to go through what they wanted out of the site and get a feel for what they envisioned for their athletic department over the next year. We do not always get to do this with clients, but when we do, it helps the process go considerably smoother. Plus, I always enjoy a trip to see our clients.
Once we have met with the client and received the content we start building out the site. Dustin is great at what he does and his ability to lay out content in an efficient manner is one of the things that take our sites to another level. Our process is another one of the reasons we are able to create amazing websites and working closely with a client on a website allows us to refine this process to match the goals of their website. UNC wanted to push season tickets for football and that is the main goal of the website. To accommodate this push, Dustin worked hand in hand with the marketing and ticket staff at UNC to make sure the content was laid out in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner.
Combining marketing automation with a well laid out website can bring a whole new level of efficiency to your staff and this was one of the primary goals of the Raise Up Carolina website. We were able to target specific demographics of the fan base with newsletters and content, see how they reacted, and then adjust our focus to fit that specific demographic. This is something we work closely with UNC on and that is still going on at this time. When we know and understand the goals of our clients, we will adjust what we do to make sure we help them accomplish those goals. Ashley and Joel (from our OKC office) have studied the goals of UNC so much that they are starting to see things in shades of Tar Heel Blue, but this is what we mean we say we are here to help.
Deadlines and seasons change easily in our industry. Teams that we might think will be sitting at 2-8 end up sitting at 8-2 and looking to get into the playoffs. Our experience working on campus and in this industry has prepared us for that. We have our processes in place to handle these changes and are able to deliver for our clients when few other firms could. Every project will have these challenges, but that’s part of the process and another reason why we make sure we know everything we need to about your goals.
In the end, major projects like this are about the relationship. We got in on the ground floor with UNC for this site and it helped throughout the process. We are still working with them to target their marketing efforts, using analytics to study their fan base, and using marketing automation to make them as efficient as possible.
We are on the same team on projects like this. We will help you accomplish your goals.
Our 2016 New Year’s resolution: share more of what we know.
In the past 12 years, we’ve learned a lot about sports marketing and fundraising. In fact, we’re not going to be shy about saying this: we’re experts. And we’ve realized that our clients, friends, and fans would benefit from our expertise – so we’re going to start sharing more of it.
Over the upcoming year, you can expect to see more articles on our blog about sports marketing best practices, achieving fundraising goals, advice for common sports marketing challenges, marketing trends, and more. If you’ve got a sports marketing question or challenge that’s keeping you up at night, send it to us! We’d be happy to tackle it in our blog and give you some free advice. After all, our staff has a combined 482 years of experience in sports marketing and development. I know what you're thinking. 482 years? Seriously? No, not seriously. But it's a lot.
But don’t worry, if you like hearing about our antics and personal escapades you’ll still be able to read about them on all our various social media outlets. Robert will still run shirtless through the snow. Zac will still do uncomfortable interviews with the OH staff. And Geoff might write a haiku again sometime.
So buckle in. Twenty-sixteen is poised to be the greatest year in the history of years. And your best resource for making it the best for you is right here at the Old Hat blog.
You should probably check it out. It was one of the more fun projects to work on and we were able to do some really cool things with the client.
Remember this guy?
Have you ever seen him do stuff like this before
and enjoyed it?
Well, if you answered yes to the first part of that last question, but then no to the second, then you are probably a reasonable person with well rounded hobbies for entertainment. If you answered yes to ANY part of that question or just think that site I mentioned above is really cool, then you are in luck because on February 11th, Old Hat will combine those two amazing categories into a rock block of fun. And by “rock block of fun”, I mean a webinar that goes through the process of helping you sell tickets with an amazing Old Hat website.
Stay tuned for more info as we get closer to the date, but as with all things Old Hat does, it will involve a little bit of random, a little bit of awesome, and a lotta bit expertise.
A certain movie comes out in two days. Well, two days for the majority of the U.S. Some lucky souls have already seen it. Your social media timelines are stacked with stuff about it. Maybe you’ve heard of it, or one of its predecessors? I’ve had my IMAX 3D tickets for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens for nearly two months, so you could say I’m a fan. From all appearances, the movie looks to reference the original trilogy more than the prequels, with real actors and sets and less CGI. That return to basics approach should satisfy the majority of fans, after the bad taste left from some of the prequels.
You might think that Star Wars is the most profitable movie franchise ever, but as of now, it stands fourth or fifth depending on calculations in worldwide box office, behind the likes of the Marvel Universe, Harry Potter, and James Bond movies. Those numbers will likely change over the next 4-5 years as spinoffs and additional sequels are set to be released - Rogue One in 2016, Episode VIII in 2017, a Han Solo spinoff in 2018 and Episode IX in 2019.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories and links created ahead of The Force Awakens. Here’s a few of the ones I’ve come across. The branding is strong with these.
Football season is winding to a close and basketball season is heating up. No matter which sport you work with, these four tips will help you take your marketing efforts from having an average season to dominating your goals.
1. Talk smack.
As a sports marketer, you basically get paid to talk smack. How glorious is that? It’s a beautiful thing – as long as you get it right. Good smack-talk galvanizes your fans and increases ticket sales. Just remember that when you talk smack for your program, there are two groups who have to deliver on it: the team (of course) and the operations guys whose efforts ensure a good game-day experience for fans. Make sure you’re working closely with both. The other thing about talking smack is that in order for it to resonate, you have to talk the right smack to the right group. That can be tough if you’re new to a particular program, because every school and every sport is unique. When your messages are on point, you’re near the eye of the hurricane helping chart its path. If your messages aren’t on point, you’re going to be the guy getting crushed by the hurricane. To make sure you’re not that guy, follow the lead of your coaches and players: watch some tape.
2. Watch tape (a.k.a. do your research).
Do you know any college or professional football team that doesn’t watch tape? Yeah, us neither. There’s a reason for that. Watching game film gives players and teams insight into what went well (or didn’t go well) and what to expect from their next opponent. That type of research and analysis provides an important edge. Why not do the same thing with your marketing? Just like reviewing game film, there are two key areas you need to analyze: your brand and your target audience. When was the last time you thoroughly reviewed what your brand stands for, where it can improve on delivering the customer experience, and how strong your marketing strategy is? You also periodically analyze your customers: who they are, what they value most about the game day experience, how well their needs are being met, and what their satisfaction level is. The good news is that you can get away with investing in this type of in-depth analysis periodically (once per season) instead of having to do it for every game.
3. Develop your plays.
On the field or off, analysis is useless if it doesn’t translate into strategy. Use your brand and market research to develop your overall marketing strategy for the year, select the themes and media that are most likely to help you achieve your goals, prioritize your budget, and develop campaigns. Your marketing year can probably be divided pretty easily into its own set of seasons, and you need to have a solid campaign plan for each. Once you find something that works, there’s no shame in recycling it for the next year as long as you don’t get complacent. Complacency kills. You don’t want fans to be able to predict your next poster, email, etc. any more than your team wants the opposing players to predict their next move. So figure out what worked last season, make some adjustments to keep it interesting, and take the next year on like you own it.
4. Monitor the stats.
Ticket sales, game attendance, season ticket renewals, alumni contributions – these are all statistics you should be benchmarking and comparing to prior data. But don’t stop there: there’s more to measure if you really want to know how effective your marketing efforts are. While it can be difficult to measure the success rate of traditional marketing tactics (posters, print ads, billboards, radio, etc.), digital marketing offers a goldmine of statistics. Go beyond looking at basics like number of new and returning website visitors, and start measuring responses to calls to action and actual conversion. Incorporate a marketing automation tool so you can target your messages to different groups, move them along the conversion path, and measure the response you get to each email you send. Make your emails more personal and more interactive with videos that are customizable to each recipient – it’s more affordable than you think, and it helps seriously drive engagement and ultimately ticket sales.
I have spent a lot of time in my garden for the last six months. It has been a lot of work, but at this point in the year, it is pretty enjoyable work. Why? Because all I really have to do is walk out and pick things to eat.
That has definitely not been the case throughout the last six months. With twenty-seven inches of rain in twenty-nine days, it has been a struggle. Plants have gotten sick and/or needed constant attention. I have faced more bugs or diseases this year alone than all of my previous years combined. I have spent more time on garden forums than I want to admit and have read through a 300 page garden reference book. It has not been overly enjoyable, and it is a hobby that has it ups and downs. Through it all, being able to harvest has driven me. This Saturday I made gumbo. About half way through, I ran out of peppers and okra. It took all of two minutes to walk out and pick what I needed from my garden. It was rewarding.
I find that busy season for Old Hat is a bit like harvesting my garden. The stress level is definitely different, but the steps we take to get here are very similar. We spend more than six months reviewing our processes, creating new products, and telling the sports world about them. This year we have added an extra source of information in Marketing Automation that is producing more data than we have ever had. We are able to see what people are doing, clicking on, reading, and looking through on our site. It allows us to target our products to those that we know are interested. It is a great service and another product we spent the off-season preparing for our clients and ourselves. Zac blogged in detail about it here
You should check it out and then we can all be harvesting at this point in the year!
Yesterday, Ashley and I traveled to Stillwater to meet with the OSU Sports Management Club. I enjoyed getting to meet the students involved in the group and share a few of the things I have learned from working in the industry. The excitement they have about going into the sports industry is refreshing. We spent about an hour talking with them about our careers and answering any questions they had about the industry. I am truly grateful to work where I work. I consider myself lucky to work on sports projects everyday.
I enjoy seeing that excitement in young people. Excited about what is to come and excited to learn. I help coach a flag football team for similar reasons. I enjoy working with kids and seeing that spark in their eye when they start to understand the game. Watching a young person go from confusion to pure joy in their understanding or the lesson they just learned. Then watching them apply it during a game is something that always brings a smile to my face.
Sports bring that out in people. At Old Hat we “Amplify the Sports Experience” and in that motto is the reason I enjoy coming to work everyday. We want to make every experience a fan has with your team an exciting one. We want fans to get the tickets they bought in the mail, see the design, and start counting down the days until they are in the stadium. We want fans to get chills when they watch a team run out of the tunnel to an intro video. That enjoyment, that passion for the game is what we want to amplify, and all it takes is a young person being excited about sports to remind me of why we do it.
Today is September 22 which for me is good ole blogging day which I have not participated in for a while. If I were not the absent minded professor you would get to read all sorts of wonderful posts, but I have reigned as the absent minded professor for a long time. When I was a little boy I would forget my house key at school which forced me to either walk all the way back to school or pull some acrobatic moves to open and jump through the back kitchen window just off the side of the back deck. My mother would have been quite upset if she knew how many times I jumped to that window 15' above where I could have easily plumeted to my death. Anyway, the title of my post is 365 Days of Social Media not The Absent Minded Professor, so lets continue moving forward on that topic.
365 Days of Social Media refers to a journey I am sending myself on in which I will be attempting to post a social media graphic every day for a year. I have been putting a lot of effort towards improving my overall life in every way and in today's world social media is ever more important and is only expanding and evolving. Social media engulfs the lives of anyone who has access to a computer. It has the power alter someones life in various ways, which has brought about debates as to whether it is good and/or bad. Regardless of what you think social media is most likely not going anywhere. So, I say embrace social media and take a look at my instgram and facebook pages. One of the graphics could inspire you, it could change your opinion, it could also piss you off, but remember Don't Think Too Much. Thinking too much can be a very bad thing.
As I watched the opener of the NFL season last night, I followed along on Twitter. Sports remains the top must-see live fare, and ‘watching’ it in realtime via social media along with others seems to be the way to go. Because my Twitter feed is full of sports sites and sport-industry creatives, I saw an abundance of graphics highlighting the matchup and especially Antonio Brown's hair, Rob Gronkowski's TD catches and the return of Tom Brady. Even if people aren't able to watch the live event, they want to follow along on their devices.We're certainly seeing this in college athletics, as evidenced by the increased amount of social media graphic creation that's popping up in our workflow. Graphics for the next game, pregame lineups, in-game updates, postgame wrap-ups, season tickets - we can certainly do them all whether matched to your poster/current campaign or a completely new look.
On a side note, one thing we haven’t liked that’s also been showing up in the workflow is changes to athletic department brand standards. While we don’t mind a school looking for uniformity in their projects, these style guide changes are especially frustrating during the school year once the creative look has already been established. (And yes, those changes usually do hamper creativity.) So to schools… please change your brand standards in April or May, not August or September!
And finally, on a completely different and more important note, it’s impossible to not write a blog on this day and not look back to fourteen years ago. I will never forget where I was, on my way to work hearing about the events from a radio show which originated in New York. While I didn’t know anyone that lost their life that day, we should pause to remember them and their families as well as the police, firemen and first responders that helped or assisted during the tragedy. It's unfortunate that cultural attitudes toward the police and military have changed for the worse over the last decade, but we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who continue to protect, serve and guard against future incidents.