Social Studies: Univ. Of Oklahoma Capitalizes On Athletic Successes
Univ. of Oklahoma Dir of Digital Media Tory Kukowski (@OU_Athletics) has seen his fair share of athletic accomplishments during his 12 years at the school. He said OU is “very fortunate to have high-profile events to celebrate,” adding, “Not to joke about it, but it’s kind of becoming routine.” One of the seemingly routine events is OU having a Heisman trophy candidate. OU ran three campaigns for Baker Mayfield in each of his three seasons, as well as last year for Kyler Murray. Kukowski said of Mayfield, “The first year was a little more of a longshot. That year we really capitalized on him being big into video games. That campaign was called 'The Gamer.' The next year, we had two guys -- he and Dede Westbrook -- and it happened to be a year of a presidential campaign. We did a dual ticket campaign.” He added, “In Baker’s third year, we didn’t need to get quite as creative because his record numbers were the campaign. This year with Kyler, we had a unique opportunity with his two-sport ability and paid homage to the 'Bo Knows' campaign."
Building social media campaigns:
We try to highlight the future of our teams first. There are those situations for awards like a Heisman or No. 1 draft pick that demand their own attention. We take a step back and take a look at. What are the strengths of that individual from an on-the-field performance and personality-wise as well? We look at what we think we’ll be able to work with them on because we want them to be a part of it and want them to be invested in it, because it’s really about them.
Evolution of promotion:
We don’t necessarily do as many hard mailers. We’ve done as part of our campaigns some email communications that tie in with the look and feel of the whole campaign. It’s the power of social media. In the old days, where you were dealing with hard types of mailers, it was out of necessity at the time as the digital space wasn’t as big. Ultimately this leads to more people. In essence, it is free for us. There is no hard cost for us where if you print out mailers, there is a cost associated with that.
Social media philosophy:
It’s team-first with everything. Our digital media philosophy is it’s not about us individually. It’s about the teams and the student-athletes and programs we are promoting. With the history and tradition we have, the goal is always achieving that at the highest level in every regard. Our cycle of success starts with recruiting. Every communication tries to have a recruiting message in it. If we recruit well, we are going to do well on the field, which is the second part of that cycle. No. 3, we are going to have more fans in our building supporting our teams. And with that, the fourth part is, the more people we have, the more revenue we generate. The more we generate, the more we can update facilities, and that goes back to recruiting.
“Why Oklahoma” and other episodic features:
We’ve done some different types of series. This one is very much recruiting focused. We had a number of our guys who were in the NFL Draft, six or seven in that room. We did it around Pro Day and capitalized on the opportunity of having them all back. It was about an hour-long shoot, but we got so much great content out of it. When we started going through the footage and going through the editing process, we had about seven or eight very specific topics that we can break it into. We’ll carry this through the summer. We’ll put them all together in the fall and it will be like a 30-minute TV special for us.
Working with brands:
Obviously sponsorships and partnerships are a huge revenue driver for us. It’s a key piece of what we do. But we try to make sure anything we do from that standpoint is something that makes sense, something that is closely tied to our brand and the values of our brand. Ultimately it is something that provides value to our stakeholders, primarily our fans.
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