*The following is an excerpt from the book Brands Win Championships*
Football provides an interesting example of how short and even where your window of opportunity is after a successful season. Let’s create a hypothetical situation using your university, one I’ve lived through as a senior brand and digital manager at adidas when Notre Dame advanced to the BCS National Championship in 2012. Say your university is fortunate enough to make it to the BCS National Championship game just as the Irish did. It’s an incredible accomplishment, but not one you can wait to capitalize on or promote.
You have two windows in this instance, each with very different life spans. The first window is before the game itself actually takes place. The regular season ends in early December; at that same time, BCS Bowls and the National Championship matchups are announced. The actual championship takes place during the first two weeks of January, which means there is a roughly four-week window in which the spotlight is on your school. If you’ve ever watched ESPN’s SportsCenter leading up to the national championship, you know in those four weeks the conversation is centered around the championship game, with a smattering of coverage for other bowls. This is your window. This is the moment you need to turn up the heat.
Fans, recruits, parents, and media that would normally have little interest in your team are now paying close attention. Through this attention you have the opportunity to influence these individuals, where you wouldn’t have had the chance prior. And we’re talking about a mass audience. No longer are you simply speaking to a regional or even local audience—you’re talking to a nation. Better yet, you have four weeks to do it! This window between the end of the season and the title game is a “permission window,” in which mass audiences give you permission to talk to them about your school. The media tells them it’s okay. The media makes you relevant by talking about your program, and that in turn makes you intriguing to an entire country, not just your current fans.