Writing is hard. 

If I could get away with it, that is probably all this blog would say.  Constantly creating new and relevant content is a challenge.  I blog one to two times a month and still struggle to come up with ideas that actually make sense to go on Old Hat Creative’s blog.  Old Hat Creative is what I do for a living and I still struggle to write coherent and entertaining sentences about what I do.  Life is interesting enough that I should be able to find a few interesting things to write about. 

In the past, I have blogged about writing drills that I was taught at a young age and how I use(d) those to keep my skills fresh and sharp.  You know?  The whole sharpen your axe speech?   

Those are topics that interested me and were easy to write about.  I used to drill myself all the time to make myself a better writer, but lately my axe has gotten a bit dull.  I still write for Old Hat when needed, but I am not doing what I should be to make myself better.  Ahh, the comfort zone…

We all know about it.  Whether it is in a relationship with a significant other or the relationship to a skill you once wanted to perfect.  You get comfortable.  You obtain a level of proficiency that surpasses most people and you rest on your laurels.  We work in the sports industry and there are countless examples of teams getting in this comfort zone.  See Miami Heat 2014 NBA Finals and GO SPURS GO!

And that is the challenge.  Do you have enough motivation or desire to constantly be improving yourself, your craft or just sharpening your axe in general?  It is not something that is easy to do.  A lot of people get into this industry because they are or were athletes and finding this motivation was always easy when playing sports.  “Oh that guy, kicked me in the shin last time… I am going to tear him apart this year.” Every game presents you with an opportunity to get one years worth of motivation, but when we get to the real world and out of athletics, it can be more difficult to find that motivation.  

That elusive motivation that gets us to improve ourselves in areas others may not think we need improving.  For me, it is not the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning; it is the thing that keeps you awake at night.  Laying there thinking about how it happened and what you wish you would have said or wrote or done… that is what motivates me.  

I am lucky to work where I work.  I know that and try to remember that every day.  The last few months have not been easy for me outside of work and that is not how I usually want to go into our busy season.  I like to be well rested and have myself fully prepared for the busy season, but that did not happen this year.  However, that is where the people I work with come into play.  I am lucky to work here for the all the cool stuff we do, but I am also lucky to be surrounded by such good people. The people here motivate me to sharpen my axe.  It can be as simple as Kelby forcing me to blog twice in one week. Realizing that at one point I would have no issue writing two good blogs in a week because I was always practicing is a wake up call. Deb calling me out on something I said and making me prove it or at least provide reasoning.  This makes me better.  It reminds me of the work that went into getting here and what it will take to continually improve.  

Writing is hard and so is finding motivation.  You will always find yourself falling into one comfort zone or another.  How you pull yourself out of those is up to you and will go a long way in determining how long you stay successful or how successful you become.  You can choose the attitude you take into a situation and ONLY YOU can choose what motivates you. 

At Old Hat we like to challenge ourselves.  Whether building a website that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, doing a video shoot sixty feet underground, or creating videos/posters that no one has ever seen anything like, we like a challenge.  Clients are great at challenging us and we welcome any challenge you can lay at our feet. 

Tomorrow a few large and high traffic websites will intentionally slow down their website and frustrate their customers.  Now, the slow down may not be noticeable in some places but almost all of them will take the time to place a specific logo on their websites. 

The reason that these companies are taking this step is because they are worried about the future of the Internet.  Old Hat’s blog is not the place for me to launch into a political rant but considering my career utilizes relies on the Internet it frightens me.  One day we could be forced to present our clients with two options.  

  1. Pay $XXX amount to Internet service providers so your website will actually load or 
  2. Do not pay Internet service providers and be prepared for fans/users of your site to have incredibly slow load times or possibly not be able to load your site at all. 

Internet service providers could play favorites.  In the sports world, rivalries can be heated and I would hate to think that someone from a teams rival school could slow down a website.  

For more info, check out www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/

Last week, Old Hat launched our latest and greatest in our fan engagement arsenal.  For any of you that are regulars on Facebook, the biggest trend right now is to take these quizzes to figure out "Which Character from Frozen Are You?," or "Which Country Artist Are You?," or "What Flavor of Gum Are You?"...  These things spread like wildfire and are a great way to engage your target audience in what you're promoting.

FANGAGE

Old Hat has now developed the sports marketing version of the "What Flavor of Gum Are You?" quiz.  We launched the "How Aggie Are You?" quiz last week to amazing results.  The response was stellar and only goes to show that these quizzes are a great way to build your brand and engage your audience.  While your fans are taking these quizzes, you have the attention of your exact audience.  The only people taking this quiz are your fans which are the exact people you're trying to reach to promote ticket sales, apparel sales or inform them of department initiatives.  You can view this quiz HERE.

SPONSOR OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to being a great opportunity to advertise to your fans, you may just choose to offer this as an opportunity to your sponsors to reach your fans.  They can place an ad within the quiz or simply place their logo within it to help build their brand.  

OTHER QUIZZES
We can, of course, develop any number of quizzes beyond just measuring the passion level of your fans.  Taking a page from what seems to be popular on Facebook, we have come up with the following ideas for quizzes we can create based on input (questions, answers, etc.) from you.

• What Current Coach Are You?
• What Coaching Legend Are You?
• What University Hall of Famer Are You? 
• What Local Bar/Restaurant Are You?
• What Sport Are You?
• What Moment in Our University's Sports History Are You? 

BY THE NUMBERS
This is the all-important information that shows the value of creating these quizes for your fans.  Imagine the impact you can have with by utilizing these quizzes to reach the exact audience you're attempting to reach.

First 24 Hours
5,209 - Number of users who completed the quiz
12,156 - Number of users who viewed the quiz
562 - Number of users who clicked the ad within the quiz

76,416 - To date, the total number of Facebook users the quiz has reached (the most of any post on the 12th Man Foundation's Facebook page).

This means that of all the posts on the 12th Man Foundation's page, including posts of videos about the program, links to articles about their athletes and links to the new Texas A&M mobile app, this quiz reached more than all of those combined.

Your fans will love these quizzes.  Your sponsors will love the exposure it gets them.  Call us today at 405.310.2133 to find out more.

 

 

During my first year at Old Hat, I wore a shirt that said, “Have you ever… Wanted to go viral?”  It was part of the party Old Hat hosted with the OKC Thunder and one where we talked to different people about what Old Hat produced.  

I think about that shirt often.  Every person who works in the digital marketing space has wanted to go viral.  That’s the point, is it not? However, it is not that easy.  

Social media is the number one news source for numerous people, but it is so much more than that now.  Every time a hashtag is used it starts to form a community.  People want to be part of a community, regardless if it is a physical community or a digital one.  Look at this link .  It is a simple search of the users and tweets using the #Ferguson.  Scrolling through I can quickly find @CNN, @BarackObama, @NPR, @Buzzfeed, @Nelly_Mo, and @Salon.  I was able to find all of these in the first 60 results on the page.  Numerous people in this country would love to be a part of a community consisting of those people, and that’s the point.  Take #ferguson or #IceBucketChallenge and look through who is tweeting about either.  Look at people trying to be a part of a community from thousands of miles away.  People want to join the group, and if you want “to go viral”, you better have a community that people want to join.  

 

In athletics, your community is already organized. The fans are there, and they are part of your organization.  Creating the community “to go viral” in this situation means you have to find a way to tap into that community.  You have to get fans excited and give them content that makes them want to join in the festivities. 

College,  college, college, Thunder,  college, college, college….

If you read our blog or follow our various social accounts you will see that most of our work is done in the collegiate landscape.  We have worked with more than 100 schools in ten-year history of Old Hat Creative. 

Why am I reminding you of what you probably already know if you even glanced at our website?  

Because, Old Hat Creative is so much more.  A majority of our staff has experience working on college campuses but to say that is all we have experience doing, sells the company short, and so many employees as well.  

My career has always involved web.  However, in the last seven years I have worked with or for teams in the Pacific Coast League, Texas Collegiate Baseball League, American Hockey League, Central Hockey League, Major League Lacrosse,  United Soccer Leagues, National Pro Fastpitch and a few teams that are now in Major League Soccer.   Just about everyone needs a website whether it is a team, a venue, or a golf course.  At Old Hat we have someone who has built a website for each type of organization.  You never know, your stadium is probably perfect for Stadium Trivia, regardless of the level you are on. 

I do not want to sell Old Hat short either so I am going to expand the conversation.  Old Hat six divisions.  

Interactive 
Productions 
Branding
Capture 
Consulting
Print

Our productions department has done work for NBA teams, Fortune 100 companies, and some of the largest private companies in the US.  Our work has been shown in venues across the nation.  We have products like the Derby Race and crowd prompts that would work in any venue. 

Old Hat’s branding department has done work all over the spectrum.  The staff members who make up that department have done logos and word marks for bands,  a number of stores, politicians, charitable organizations, clothing lines, and even a few professional sports teams.  

Our capture department has captured moments for NBA teams, dance teams, and even a few races.  The ability to combine this with our amazing production team means that we can fill the need of any client.  

Consulting is something that almost everyone in our company has a role.  We have employees that have worked for national marketing companies, theaters/venues, Major League Soccer teams, and national food chains. 

I saved print for last because most people know about our Print department.  We started out as a design company who focused on print.  Now we have expanded and that only means that the talent of our print department has grown exponentially. These talented individuals can do anything from posters, to magnets, brochures, and even environmental graphics.  Old Hat can boast experience working in the minor leagues, hospitals, and even the non-athletic side of universities when it comes to print design. 

A good friend of mine owns a rental business in Texas.  Their slogan is, “You need it, we rent it.”  At Old Hat we create products not rent them but if you need it, we can do it.  No matter what level you are on or what league you play in or where you are located, we can handle it.   Give us a call us a call and I can tell you what it was like to work with the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Have you noticed lately that your Facebook feed is getting lamer and lamer? So you take their survey to improve your feed only to see it get worse.  Yep that's what happened to me.  The friends I want to stay in touch with never seem to appear in my feed anymore.  I am plastered with posts from other groups (some of which I was added to without consent but can't remove myself because I don't want to offend the ones who added me).  Yet in all this, I comely see posts like,:

"Hey anyone going to Louie's [or some other place] tonight?"

"Who want's to float the river this weekend?"

"Big party at party cove. Come join!"

People are by nature, mostly social creatures.  We prefer to meet up in groups.  These groups are sometimes small or large. They may have an agenda or no agenda at all.  People want to feel a connection with others, and as easy as social media can make it to communicate, it still leaves out the physical aspect of seeing our peers.

I believe the absence of this physical part is one of the biggest downsides to social media.  People feel isolated and alone if they do not see others.  That is why solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments we can impose on others.

Having said that, I also think that this particular reasons is why social media (namely Facebook) continues to stick around.  People are using it to get back offline and to create those physical connections.  They are trying to recover the part of us that was lost when social media first exploded.

If you are a business or school, knowing this information can be very important to your success.  You can run social media campaigns with the specific goal of gaining followers, but if you are not physically connecting to these people, then their loyalty will eventually fade away.  You will become just another fad in their life.  Hosting events and using social media to market them is a great combination.  The concert event put on by Texas A&M University on 12/12/12 helped solidify the contests ran by the 12th Man Foundation that year. [http://12thmanchallenge2012.oldhatarchive.com/]  Most the people who entered the contest may not remember it in the the years to come, but if they went to the event, they have memories that can easily last a lifetime.

So put on your thinking caps, and figure out how your company, school, or organization can capitalize on this trend.

Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.  What a load of crap.  Sure, if you're running a race and you quit in the middle of it, you're not going to win.  But some people subscribe to the notion that quitting is a bad thing, in all situations.  "You can't just jump ship when things get tough or don't go the way you want."  Of course you can.  And thankfully, studies are now showing that you SHOULD.

"Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting.  Because you can't solve tomorrow's problem if you're not willing to abandon today's dud." - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in Think Like a Freak

Now I'm not advocating that anyone quit on something at the first sign of dissatisfaction.  That would be counterproductive.  But I do believe (and the people at Freakonomics agree) that we should all be more willing to pull the metaphorical plug a little earlier on things when we know we're unhappy.  There's this notion of "sunk cost" that keeps us fighting losing battles which ultimately end up causing even greater dissatisfaction and 6 months down the road, you wish you had just quit 6 months ago.  When we have sunk time, energy, money, etc. into something, we hold onto it hoping things will turn around.  And we SHOULD... to an extent.  But there's a point at which we know that we need to just call it quits but we continue with it because we've already invested so much time in it.

I've always subscribed to the philosophy that when faced with a decision, you should do what you'll regret the least... not necessarily what you want the most.  So before you go off and quit something, the first thing you wanna do is make sure you're not going to regret it later. So I'm definitely not advocating quitting something without giving it a LOT of thought and consideration.  But once you've figured out in your head that your future is not in that job, relationship, situation, etc., end it immediately.  You'll be glad you did.

Disagree?

When was the last time you quit something that didn't end up being a good decision?  If it's happened a lot, then maybe you're one of those people that makes decisions like this without giving it enough thought.  For me, I can't think of a single time that I quit anything where I regretted it for a single second.  Are there things I miss?  Sure.  Would I have loved to stay in that situation if it had been salvageable?  You bet your hiney.

When I was in eighth grade, I hated school.  Absolutely despised it.  And a lot of it had to do with the school I was in.  That school was fine for some people but for me, it was pure hell.  So I quit going there.  I transferred to a different school where I had a great experience, met lifelong friends and met the eventual mother of my children.

When I worked for the OU Athletics Department, I eventually got to the point where I knew I had reached my potential there.  I was not happy.  People told me I was absolutely NUTS for wanting to quit.  I had a good, reliable job working for a university, doing what I loved and getting to go on free Bowl trips every year.  But I quit.  And it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I now own the nation's premiere sports creative agency and am infinitely more satisfied with my career.  And when the time comes when I'm not, I'll probably quit this too.

I've quit other things, too.  Personal relationships... Professional relationships... I quit holding on to the idea that I can grow a nice head of hair and just decided to buzz it all off.  Point is, not only do I not regret anything I've ever quit, I'm much happier because of those things.

Think Like A Freak

Still don't believe me?  That's okay.  But you should read the latest book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubnar, Think Like a Freak.  They spend an entire chapter on this and do it way more justice than I have.  The point they make (and the one I'm trying to make), is that quitting is okay.  And for the most part, it leads to greater satisfaction in life. 

Dear Old Hat Staff: Please don't quit.

I sincerely hope that this blog hasn't inspired anyone on my staff to quit.  That would suck.  But only because my assumption is that if I've inspired them to quit, they have to have been unhappy here for some time.  And THAT is what would bother me.  All I want for any of my staff is that they are as happy as they can possibly be.  And if quitting their job would lead to greater happiness, I would encourage them to rip the band-aid off and move on to the next phase of their lives.  

Sincerely,

Zac

P.S. But seriously, Old Hatters... don't quit your jobs.  This philosophy applies to everyone but you. 

 

Several of us at Old Hat are fans of logo and uniform design. There have certainly been some unique ones that teams have debuted recently. Minor league teams, especially baseball and hockey, are not afraid to take chances and try new things, in effort to sell tickets and create buzz. Movie themes, pop culture, historical, patriotic - really anything seems to be within the realm of possibilities. Many use them as part of a theme-night with special promotions and guests during the evening. 

A few teams seem to lead the way, for example, the Lehigh Iron Pigs, Brooklyn Cyclones and Memphis Redbirds. The Iron Pigs even have a website dedicated to selling their bacon-themed merchandise and once had a 'Couple Married on the Mound Night'. The Cyclones went out of their way to show off their 'authentic' Star Wars jerseys. The Redbirds have modeled Eqyptian jerseys as well as Organ Donor Night jerseys.

Here are just some of the wildest ones I've come across. 

 

Star Wars 

 

 

Ghostbusters

 

Santa Claus / Christmas

 

Superheroes

 

Social Media 

 

Just completely random...


Fresh Prince of Bel Air


Michael Jackson


Hot Dogs?


The Price is Right


Convict Night


Don Cherry Night


Gettysburg Address

and finally ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE NIGHT!

 

Thanks to Sportslogos.net for several of the images.


That doesn't even include all the bad camo jerseys in various sports or ugly soccer jerseys through the years. What have you seen? Tweet us the craziest ones you've come across.

The World Cup is almost here.  I love World Cup summers.  It gives me soccer for almost an entire year.  

I watch the English Premier League every weekend during the season at the annoyance of my significant other who LOVES to have her Saturday mornings interrupted at 6am for me to turn on the TV.  However, this is the exact reason I am really excited about this world cup.  The games are on during daylight hours.  I have watched most of every world cup since USA 1994.  To be honest, the last World Cup hosted on this continent played a large role in why I love this sport.  Each location has never really been an ideal time.  South Korea and Japan were rough since the games very early in the morning.  France was not that bad and neither was Germany since those games started around the same time as the leagues I normally follow.   You can check out the schedule here 

We have a lot of TVs in the office and they will be tuned to the games.  There are even games that we can enjoy in a bar after work or in our case, the lounge

I am sure there are many of you saying soccer still sucks.  In fact, there are probably people reading this that I can see from my desk saying that.  I can understand.  I love soccer.  I have played the game for 25 years and have an understanding that even makes a nil nil draw incredibly exciting. You should still watch a couple games if you enjoy sports.  This is the biggest sporting event in the world. Attending a match that matters between two entire countries is one of the most exciting events I have ever witnessed.  The passion displayed when you are cheering for your country is second to none.  

And to top it off, I get to watch soccer on Friday the 13th.  Jackpot!

Check out these goals from past world cups. Enjoy the games!!

Easy title for a simple blog…Right?  

Yesterday as I sat at the vet for two hours I started planning this blog.  With an appointment at 4, I finally got to see a vet at 5:30.  Then I spent all of 4 minutes with the vet before she was out the door and on her way.  It was a great experience.  

During the time I was there, five different employees apologized, not a single one looked me in the eye as they did.  When I was taken back to a room four times, an assistant came to the room hoping to stash another patient in that room only to be disappointed that it was in use.  They then proceeded to talk directly on the other side of the door about who was in the room, how long I had been there, and what I needed.  They also mixed in some trash talk about another patient.  I guess they thought the door was sound proof?

To add to this wonderful experience, while in the waiting room, I witnessed them bring out a dog who they had given the wrong shot.  They “apologized” to the owner, and once she was out the door the girls at the front desk proceeded to blame the owner, debate whether they should charge the owner for the shot, and then decided to call the owners boyfriend blaming the person who picked the dog up while charging him for the shot nobody requested.  

What is the point of this rambling besides the obvious fact I need a new vet?  Customer service… that’s the point.  

We pride ourselves on customer service at Old Hat.  When Zac writes about being grateful for the opportunity, he means it.  When we send out small gifts on our client’s birthday, we do it because we truly hope we can brighten the day of the people who give us a reason to show up in the morning.  

I had so many people tell me they were sorry yesterday but not a single one of them meant what they said.  When I brought this up to the vet, she at least looked me in the eye while she fed me lines about how they “care” about my time and that unfortunately ”things like this happen.”  I am a little embarrassed to say that I laughed at her when she said they cared about my time.  They do not care about my time. They care about my wallet.  From the time I entered the office to the time I left, my money was what mattered.  They could say all they wanted about my time or apologize to me.  When it is that easy to tell they don’t mean it, they are wasting their breath. 

Old Hat has a staff made up of people who worked on campus at some point in their careers. We know how difficult it can be to deal with 80,000 fans that are truly passionate about their alma mater.  There are always going to be problems, but if you actually care about customer service and treat your customers in a way that shows you care, they will see.  If you fake it or your staff fakes it, the fans will see through the charade and it will cost you.  

We are Old Hat Creative.  We are committed to customer service and our clients. 

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