*The following is an excerpt from the book Brands Win Championships*
The second window of communication is after the game. Let’s delve into the world of hypotheticals. Imagine for a minute your team has won the national championship (hairs rising yet?). Believe it or not, your window to talk about your school, despite what might sound like a much sexier story, is a fraction of what it was prior to the game. That’s because the media moves on quickly. The game story is over the next day. The national championship usually runs the week prior to the first weekend of the NFL Playoffs. Once the national championship game is over, the media moves on to the NFL, and with it, so does the rest of the nation. Your window after the national championship is about twenty-four hours at most. And really, your best shot is to have something ready to go as soon as the clock strikes 00:00.
Now you might say, “Our fans wouldn’t move on that quickly,” and I would agree with you. Your window to talk to existing fans is larger; quite honestly, they’re listening all year at some level. But the problem with that thinking is that those individuals are already your fans. The fact that you won the championship does more to keep them loyal than any marketing. It’s the new and potential fans that we’re concerned with. The idea of capitalizing on successful seasons is about bringing in new fans and growing your fan base.
One might also say, “What if we’re not in the BCS title game, or even in the FBS for that matter? Or what if we’re not a football program?” The philosophy doesn’t change. The windows are the same—prior to the game is crucial; after the game, assuming a win, is equally as important, but it’s a much smaller window to activate.
The last point I want to make is around what happens if your team loses. Imagine you did not activate prior to the game and your team lost. You’re left with nothing. What a missed opportunity. No one remembers who came in second. You’ve not only lost the game, you’ve lost any opportunity to increase the size of your fan base by waiting for what is a variable you can’t control as a brand manager: on-field performance.
You have two very important windows. Plan for both, and do not miss out on pregame.
Take this same approach when planning for things like National Player of the Year candidates, the Final Four, the Frozen Four, or if you are building a baseball program, the College World Series in Omaha. It’s crucial to preplan for any potential point of success that comes with a built in hype window.