ELSM Staff Writer: Katie Burger
Chapel Hill, NC – Using an all-around approach that highlighted their one-of-a-kind surroundings, the University of Wyoming seized first place in the Top Newcomer category of the 2011-12 Best of Brand Awards. Cowboy’s Head Coach, Mark Branch, discussed how their unique assets helped to set his program apart in the growing world of social media and the Best of Brand Awards.
The Cowboys came on to the social media scene in late 2011 and Branch admits “Facebook was something that I thought just college kids did.” However, with immense support from his staff and inspiration from the NWCA Leadership Academy, the program made huge strides early on by posting unique content that instantly connected with fans. The Cowboys relied upon their strengths by displaying Wyoming’s unique and rural landscape, all the while emphasizing their Cowboy Tough life and training styles.
While marketing his program as Cowboy Tough, Branch also wanted to make sure that his wrestlers had some room to “take the reins” on social media content. He continued, “Wrestlers traditionally have this rough guy attitude, that we’re all business, but now it is easier for the guys to be able to cut loose a little bit and show their personalities.” With player profiles, training clips, and recruitment updates, the Cowboys hit a solid balance of quality information and exciting entertainment.
Even in the off-season the Cowboys had distinct content to entertain fans. Branch explains, “We have the Wyoming Regional Wrestling Training Center now. The guys are training pretty tough and that gives us the opportunity to keep up with what they are doing.”
As for advice to other programs, he cautions coaches to “be careful because as a coach, you are responsible for the content that you and your players post.” On the other hand though, he emphasizes being open minded, “You’ve got to let the younger kids get involved. I like to give my team a lot of freedom, but they know I give the final stamp of approval.”
The all-around approach, based on a collective team effort, that the Cowboys adopted last year to market their program proved to be very successful. Branch explained, “Our goal going in wasn’t to win the Awards, but it is great to be recognized for our work.” It is clear that the Cowboys’ efforts will only be improved upon into the 2012 Best of Brand competition, as they have already posted a variety of both entertaining and informative content.
The Cowboys are competing again this year in the 2012 Best of Brand Awards: Collegiate Division. To follow their season, visit their social media sites: