By David Oates
I’m a big fan of NCAA March Madness, and not just because of my love of college sports. For me, it has much to do with the public relations value it generates for schools that we never hear of otherwise.
That wasn’t always the case. Years ago, the tournament field was limited to 32, with many of the slots held in reserve for the established conferences of that era: the Pac-10, Big-10, SEC, Big-12 and so forth. Not anymore. The field is literally wide open with mid-majors often stealing the limelight. Today’s tournament structure is a publicist’s dream come true. Small, obscure colleges can now take center stage on live, nationally televised broadcasts.
In doing do, it can be a catalyst to a college entrance into prominence. Just ask Georgia State after it knocked off Number 3-ranked Baylor last year. Or how about the even more improbable commuter school, George Mason University, making it to the Final Four 10 years ago.
The best thing about the NCAA basketball tournament is that it gives any college the opportunity to step up and make a name for themselves. It doesn’t matter how they got there; it’s how they make the most of it that counts.
Marketers of small companies take note. You can create the same phenomenon for your organization without waiting for an invite to a “Big Dance.” Nowadays, anyone with the right social media, video and email strategy can develop a solid following and brand that puts them in the same conversation as an established player. Best of all, you no longer have to be involved in the high-priced, “Good Ol’ Boys” advertising club to get known. These initiatives can cost almost nothing to develop and implement without the need to purchase costly equipment or hire Ph. D. candidates.
Granted it may take time, but the opportunities, unlike in decades past, are most certainly yours if you have the right people in place to make it happen!
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