*The following is an excerpt from the book Brands Win Championships*
When it comes to game-day fan gear, two basketball programs come to mind: Cal and Duke. Both distinguished student bodies are known for wearing their striped polos to basketball games, and I love it. It’s such a simple tradition, and it ties directly to the positioning of each school—scholarly institutions rooted in the polo—wearing upper crust of society. Some might call it snobbery; I call it branding.
When looking at starting your own game-day apparel tradition, start with your story and use your student ambassadors in much the same way we discussed leveraging the band. Let your students become physical manifestations of who your university and athletic program are. If you’re an aggie school, get your students in overalls. If you’re an Ivy League school, get your student section in shirts and ties. If you’re a blue-collar program, get your students in hard hats! Find what makes your program unique, dress up the student body, and own it!
Don’t forget color. When I think of fan gear on game day, I think about the experience, and that experience for me starts with a sea of color. Like we talked about earlier in this book, it’s important as a collegiate brand to own a color. When you do decide what color that is, make sure that’s the shade you blanket your bookstore with. It’s your job to make sure every fan rolling through your town on game day leaves the bookstore with that color on their back.