[Ed.: “I Have An Idea…” is a series written for College AD by the author of Brands Win Championships, Jeremy Darlow.]
“Strike While the Iron is Hot.” – Proverb
I’m willing to bet that many of you reading this passage work for (or have worked for) an athletic program that has at one point or another completely outperformed expectations. Having reached national relevance with a team that had traditionally only garnered regional coverage at best. I’m also willing to bet that those of you familiar with that situation can also relate to the fact that your program sat on its hands rather than striking while the proverbial iron was hot. Few do.
And to be clear, “striking” doesn’t include the social media content you posted immediately after your wins. “Striking” doesn’t include the tee shirts you gave to all of your students at your last game. And “striking” certainly doesn’t include the press kit you sent to your media outlets rehashing stats they were already very familiar with.
“Striking” is about overwhelming confidence and giving the media something more to talk about. Something more than your record. It’s the billboard in Times Square. It’s the ESPN.com home page takeover. It’s the NBA athletes dancing on your sideline after your team scores a touchdown.
It’s Connor McGregor challenging Floyd Mayweather Jr.
People want to see McGregor because he consistently exudes over-the-top confidence. Has McGregor ever looked surprised after a victory? No, and that’s why the people love him. Has your team ever looked surprised after a victory? Yes, and that’s why that winning season no one expected didn’t turn into several.
Strike now or forever hold your peace
Jeremy Darlow is a brand marketing professional who, during his time at adidas, has worked with schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, and UCLA, and athletes like Jimmy Graham, Dwight Howard, and Lionel Messi. He works to help NCAA athletic programs and athletes build and elevate their brands to elite levels.