I was thrilled to head back to my home state, Nebraska, this past weekend for a quick visit and to attend the Nebraska/BYU Football game. 

While there, I got to see a few old friends from my old stomping ground, HuskerVision. And by OLD stomping ground, I really mean it. It's been 11 years since I last worked at Nebraska. The changes are ridiculous. The athletic department looks nothing like it used to. The only constant was the people I was able to catch up with while there.

One thing that Nebraska is in my opinion, really leading the country in, is technology related fan experience improvements. Last year, the Huskers announced multi-million dollar additions, including completely new in-stadium sound systems and improving their in-stadium wifi. As most people are probably aware, most stadiums have very limited connectivity in venue. Nebraska's is really great and I imagine it's leading the way for a lot of departments. I visited the department on Friday, and could connect outside the stadium, so I think the footprint must be pretty big.

When I was there, I visited my old friend Kelly, who is the Assistant AD for Digital Communications, and he showed me around Nebraska's digital headquarters (his office). He has a staff of people - three full time as well as interns, completely dedicated to digital strategy and production. This is their setup for monitoring all things Nebraska on social media.

Outside and Inside of their offices (I didn't get good pictures, so the two above are borrowed from Nebraska Media Relations).

These two are taken by me. The screen on the bottom right shows seven different Twitter feeds at once, including the official Huskers account, head coach Mike Riley and more. Here it is a little closer up.

Nebraska is hugely committed to staying at the forefront of social media and I've been really entertained by the content they release: great videos, behind-the scenes kind of stuff. Only speculating here, but I'd guess some of the staff (administrative and coaches), don't necessarily understand a lot about social media, but it seems like they do understand it's importance, especially for fans and for recruiting. 

He also showed me what I think is one of the coolest enhancements Nebraska has undertaken, their official app. The app contains most of the information you can view on their regular website (schedules, rosters, news, ticket purchasing, etc), but also has really awesome in-game features. My favorite was the ability to see any replay, from several different angles, right on my phone during the game. I could also press a 10 second replay button so I could view anything I missed. 

All-in-all, it was a great (but exhausting) weekend! The only downer was the final play of the game...

I get the question all the time: "What should we be doing that we aren't doing?" or "What's the newest thing that we should be doing?" The are always new answers because there are always new things being developed. But right now and for the forseeable future, the answer is: Marketing Automation

What is marketing automation, you ask? Well, there's a graphic below that does a good job of explaining it but honestly, this is one of those things you have to explain through a demo. The basics are this... Marketing automation takes your sales initiatives and makes them about 100% more effective. It's about tracking, data mining and giving you analytics that allow you to make your ticket sales and fundraising campaigns more targeted and more effective. It's audience segmentation, directed email campaigns, automated follow-ups, customer relations management, pixel tracking, re-targeting and much more. And it's something Old Hat is now offering as a service add-on to our web projects. 

We'll be launching a website for a client in November that's directed at ticket sales. Through marketing automation, we'll be able to tell them who is spending time on what portions of the website and for how much time they're in each section. We'll know if they converted on the sale or not. If they spend 5 minutes on the mini-pack page, they'll get a follow-up email automatically a few days later telling them more about it. If they spend time looking at renting the terrace suite for their corporate event, we'll be able to give the client a list of those people so they can give them a call. If a family-pack is purchased, that person will get an automated email a few days later telling them about the family entertainment opportunities on gameday. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I've been working in collegiate athletics for nearly 15 years and I'm not sure I've ever seen a more powerful tool in increasing ticket sales and donor relations. Give me a call at (405) 310-2133 and I'll tell you more about it. And see below... This stuff is amazing.

Yesterday I was talking about one of our websites with Kelby and discussing propagation.  When you look up propagation in the dictionary (ok, ok, I mean Google and then Webster) you get a couple different options for the definition.  For the purposes of this discussion we are going with option B:

the spreading of something (as a belief) abroad or into new regions

When talking about propagation in websites, we are typically talking about the propagation of a site to the servers throughout the world.  This process can take up to 72 hours and is typically the explanation to why one person in Texas can see your site while a person in California, at the same URL, can not see the site.  It can be a pain, but since I started working in web, the process has improved and does not seem to take as a long.  

As Kelby mentioned the other day, she is working on more projects now and quite a few of those projects are websites.  I am not sure she wanted the impromptu lesson on server propagation, but I would rather someone understand than just regurgitate the words.  This conversation got me thinking about the sports industry and how ideas tend to propagate through (around?) the industry. 

Good ideas are usually copied in our industry.  It is as much a part of life as football in the fall.  I try to see it as a compliment when someone copies what you do.  It is interesting to me to watch the ideas propagate through the industry.  College sports is where most of the websites we build are targeted and a quick look through college athletics websites, it is quite easy to see some of the more “popular” ideas, templates, or layouts that are being used.  All it takes is for one high profile school to do something cool and then you can watch it propagate throughout the industry.  This is not always a good thing and it is not always a bad thing, that all depends on the idea and the execution.  

At Old Hat Creative, we do not use templates for our websites, but we do take good ideas and execute them in a way that we think will be most successful for our clients.  Our motto is “We Amplify the Sports Experience” and we like to do that with good ideas as well.  Do you have a website and always wanted to see something like it done for your school?  Lets talk about it.   You bring the idea and we will execute it in a way that makes you unique and successful in your goals.  

The process does not stop with the idea or even the site launch.  You have to execute the site well.  You have to make sure your visitors on the site are finding the content you want them to find and are truly motivated by your call to action.  

Want to know if your idea is causing fans to look at your ticket options more?  We can provide analytics on your site that will tell you exactly who is clicking and where they are clicking.  

Want to make sure your visitors are reminded about the season ticket benefits they were browsing through last week?  We can set your site up to reach out to them later in the week and send them information specific to what they were browsing through on your site.  

Want to know how long people are spending on the site and why they leave?  We can tell you where their last clicks were and work with you to tailor the content to get them to want to stay on your site. 

There is always going to be propagation of ideas in our industry and probably every industry, but at Old Hat, we can help you take that idea to the next level.  

 

It's time for football! As the start of a new season and school year approaches quickly, Old Hat Print is already deep into our busy season. Make sure to follow Old Hat Creative (@OldHatCreative) on Twitter as we tweet an Old Hat-designed football poster each day leading up to the start of college football season. Prior to that, here's a sneak peek of a few of our favorites from the home base in Norman.

Florida International 

Presbyterian

Yale


Football posters are just a portion of the work we do. There are many other sports to highlight. Some schools prefer a uniform look, with the same design for several sports. Other schools choose different looks for each sport. Some also opt to put several sports together on the same poster. It doesn't matter which option to us, as you can you see below - we can make any option work well. This is just a small sampling of work. There are tons more projects in the queue or that haven't been released yet to the public. And not just posters, but tickets, logos, game programs, media guides, ticket brochures, annual reports, development brochures, stadium displays, signage - the list goes on and on. Be sure to check here or any of our other social media, as we will have an abundance of work to showcase in the weeks ahead.

 

Abilene Christian


Charlotte


Duke


North Texas


South Carolina


Syracuse


UNC-Greensboro


Utah


Western Michigan

I am quite a fan of watching thunderstorms, most of the time.  Something about watching a thunderhead build slowly in the afternoon heat and merge into something so powerful has always been an event that draws my attention.  

When I lived in College Station during school, I was very fortunate to live on a 90-acre piece of property, on top of a hill, and about 8 miles from Texas A&M campus.  I could walk out my front door and see Kyle Field on the horizon. I enjoyed being able to see the lights kick on and then off for Midnight Yell Practice, but what I really enjoyed was watching a storm build up.  They would start south of town about mid afternoon and eventually build up to a light show.  I could sit in the sun and beautiful weather watching a storm pour down on College Station.  The storms would eventually move my direction, but the whole process was incredibly interesting to me.  Some of my best writing came when I was on that porch watching a storm.

Now I live in Oklahoma and I do not enjoy all storms.  They still interest me and I will still sit outside for as long as possible to watch a storm build and lightening light of the sky.   Some storms are too strong or destructive to watch for long, but even for those, I am sitting on the front porch of the Railhouse, trying to get a picture while I can.  

In College Station, I could watch the storm develop and see it moving my way.  This was always the calm before the storm and I enjoyed it.  Some of the best fishing can be done at this time and it is an interesting transition from relative calm to a major event.  Nature is just interesting.

I feel like that right now.  

We are on the cusp of our busy season at Old Hat.  Projects are starting to line up in the queue, photo shoots have been booked, and the plans are starting to be laid for another round of amazing Old Hat work.  To me, this calm before the storm is different.  There is still that nervous anticipation of what will come out of all this.  Where will we be on the other side of this storm?  Storms like this always change things in some way.  Often times for the better, but change will happen regardless.  

I am excited for this busy season. I am excited to look up at my board and see that our projects have multiplied by five in the last week.  I am excited to see the amazing work that we create AND I am excited to see what changes may come.  

It may be the calm before the storm this time of year, but this is the storm that Old Hat Creative gets excited about.  

My wife and I recently headed west for a trip to California. It was part vacation, and part honeymoon that we never really took two years ago when we were married. We each had things we wanted to see. For me, it was Alcatraz and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. My wife wanted to see Yosemite, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf and other San Fran landmarks. We were able to see just about everything we wanted in a week, even after losing a day because of delayed flights and luggage mishaps at the start of the trip.

Much like several of my co-workers, I'm on Instagram, though my use has been minimal. Now that have plenty of content, maybe I should post more. If I find the time...

I took over 2500 photos, so picking from them was tough. It didn't really matter which direction you pointed the camera - you were going to find a great shot. Anyway here's a few highlights from our trip. 

 

Yosemite (Mariposa Grove, Half Dome, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley)


Alcatraz

The floor of a hallway in the cell area after Marines dropped grenades to end a prisoner riot and hostage crisis in 1946.

Fortunately we were able to escape the island


Various sites from open air bus tour and around San Francisco

Painted Ladies (Cue Full House theme)


AT&T Park - game was entertaining (Giants won 13-8 over Padres) with a view unlike I've ever had for a baseball game

Splash down in McCovey Cove, though it was a foul ball.


Other San Francisco sites (Madame Tussauds wax museum, Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco fog, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, cable car ride)



I can't believe it is almost July already.  It seems as if this summer is flying by!  That might be because I spent the month of May flying around the world and part of June driving across the country.

I don't travel that much, but when I do, I like to do it all at the same time...

So it all started back in early May.  I took a 10 day trip to Israel with my college roommate Robin and 38 other people.  Our Israel flight left from NYC, and just to be safe, we figured we should arrive in town a day early.  At that point, we then said, "Well hey, let's just make a weekend out of it!"  

After three days of exploring NYC, we were on our way to Israel.  We had both been there before, but oh my gosh, what a place.  I strongly recommend going there if you ever have the opportunity.  It is mind blowing how much history took place in such a small area.  I could not wrap my head around how old some of the ruins are that we were looking at.  

Fast forward to June...it's NACMA time!  This year, we road tripped it to Orlando.  Here - watch our documentary!

As others have mentioned in past blogs, I too am on Instagram, but see below for some photo highlights of all my trips!


The Flat Iron building


Handstands in Times Square

If you have ever watched Say Yes to the Dress, you know this place!


Handstands on Top of the Rock

 


My friend Dave with the NYPD


World Trade Center Museum


Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Israel


Beach in Haifa


On one of the bathroom walls in Israel on top of Masada...I'm not so sure I believe it...


I rode a camel!

Masada at sunrise with the Dead Sea in the background


Handstands on Masada


Sunrise


The other side of Masada



The Western Wall


Our group!  That's Syria in the background...

 

On top of Masada...one of my favorite photos

 

Robin and I with the Dome of the Rock in the background (Jerusalem)


Mediterranean Sea

 

Last night, I went to see the new Disney movie, Inside Out. If you haven't heard about it, then you must be living under a huge rock the size of Texas. It is getting really good reviews because it is unlike any previous animated movie that Disney has produced. It's super original and thought provoking. It is a really fun way to think about emotions and how they work. It's fun for the kids because it has bright colors and some funny jokes, but I think Disney really made this more for the adults that like cartoon movies (me). 

I don't want to give anything away, but I left the theatre thinking, "It's okay to be sad". These days, we try to show all of our awesome lives on social media, trying to one-up everyone else. I gave up facebook a couple of years ago, but I have noticed that slowly, Instagram is becoming a replacement for me to compare my life to others. It seems like everyone just wants to show everyone else taht their lives are awesome and they go on all these fancy trips and their significant other is better then anyone else's, but behind all those pictures, there could be so much more going on. This movie tells you, hey, "It's okay to be sad sometimes, just not all the time". And ya, it is. Be real with people, show your sadness, and people will be sad with you, but also help you get out of it. 

So ya, there is my kinda movie review/tip about how you should show your feelings. 

I have so much good stuff going on right now in my life, but i'm still going to be sad every once in a while, and thanks to Disney, I'll feel okay about it! 

 

Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:

 

1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.

 

2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.

 

3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.

 

4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.

 

5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.

 

6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year. 

 

7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical. 

 

8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.

 

9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldhat

 

That's all! See you next year!

 

So today is my two year anniversary at Old Hat Creative. Much like my very first blog, this one will touch on a few things. A lot has changed for me in the last few years, though it seems to be settling down with much of the change coming in the first few months of that stretch two years ago.

The NBA Finals wrapped up last night with Golden State winning their first title in 40 years, finishing off one of the great seasons in NBA history. The Warriors are classy group with a likable cast including Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Kerr. Kerr was one of my favorite Bulls back in the day (other than Michael and Scottie) and Kerr has enjoyed success at many of his career stops including playing, coaching or broadcasting. The Warriors also held off a spectacular series performance by one of the great players in history in LeBron James. I've been a LeBron fan for a long time but continue to be amazed / disappointed by all of the hate that's slung his way in spite of his on-court performance. Granted LeBron brings some of it on himself with actions like "The Decision" and "Not one, not two, not three, etc", but he is already one of the top 10 of all-time with several good years left. LeBron and MJ are often compared, many times unfairly because they are different types of players. Can't we be fans of both? I know I am. Jordan won four of his six titles in his 30s and LeBron, who just turned 30, already has two championships under his belt. Even though LeBron is just 2-4 in the Finals, that still holds up when compared to other legends such as Jerry West (1-8 Finals record), Wilt Chamberlain (2-5) or Karl Malone (0-3). Imagine what it would be like if Jordan, West or Chamberlain played in the social media era?

The New York Times reported yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros player evaluation computer database. We will see how this turns out, but the Internet has already had fun with this one and will call into question the accomplishments of the Cardinals over the last decade. I'm not condoning the hacking/cheating, but this has to be a lesson to create stronger passwords and don't re-use old ones. Especially if you're moving from one organization to a rival one!

Old Hat goes to 11 …. NACMAs. Another successful convention is wrapping up. A time to meet old friends and make some new ones. If you liked what you saw at NACMA or maybe weren't able to attend, check out the ways we use our experience and expertise to make you look good. Like Old Hat Sports Branding. Or court projection videos. Or Fanswers and Fangage. Maybe a print piece, large or small, is what you need. We will make you look good.

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