We recently sat down with Matt Azevedo, head coach at Drexel Wrestling, who was our Social Media of the Year (SMOY) winner during the 2012-13 season in the Head Coach category. Their program was also a Best of Brand Gold Standard finalist and won the Pure Entertainment category. In addition to receiving recognition this past season, they have extended efforts into the pre-season and were recently ranked #4 in the inaugural Best of Brand Power Ranking for their efforts. Our goal was to learn more about how the program has established such a strong brand in a short amount of time.
ELSM: You recently had a tremendous amount of interest in your #DragSwag photo caption promotion. How did you come up with this branding concept?
Azevedo: We received a lot of feed back about some new gear we posted on Twitter, so we decided to do a give away. My assistant coach Frank Cimato came up with the “caption a photo” idea. We gave a Drexel Wrestling hoodie to the best caption. It was great, we had over 75 entries.
ELSM: You guys seem to be really embracing a creative mindset in your marketing efforts. Could you talk about your philosophy in this area and how you have got your program to buy into it?
Azevedo: We are constantly thinking and brainstorming about new ways to get people engaged in our program while also building our brand. It’s like a contest amongst the staff to come up with the most creative idea. We also borrow ideas and tweak them to fit our needs. Our team has really gotten into the effort, because we encourage them and emphasis on a daily basis how important it is.
ELSM: This past year you guys did an outstanding job in the Battle Round component of the Best of Brand awards. In fact, I remember you talking about how much interest you received from the voting component. Tell us a little about your experience with the awards and the impact they had on your program.
Azevedo: Getting nominated and winning a Best of Brand Award was very rewarding for our team and also reemphasized the importance of marketing. Our team’s hard is paying off and now are guys are really starting to take pride in the efforts. When it comes to the voting, we had a game plan for our team to vote every hour. We we’re sending out hourly texts messages to the team as reminders. Our guys also did a great job getting word out to friends and family via twitter and facebook. Even my Wife got into the mix!
ELSM: As a top program in branding, you are now setting the standard for other programs. What advice would you give to aspiring programs looking to build their brand?
Azevedo: Develop a message and relentlessly promote it. Your athletes are some of your best resources for ideas and getting the word out.
ELSM: What can we expect from #DragSwag this upcoming year?
Azevedo: You will definitely see some creative videos from us this year. We will continue to get people engaged through Twitter and Facebook. We’re also working on a campaign to get students on campus more aware and evolved in our program.
ELSM: The “Elevation Series” is designed to highlight programs that are investing in creative marketing initiatives. We will release different content throughout the year to help elevate branding efforts. Preference will be given to programs who are registered for Best of Brand awards. Please stay tuned for creative content designed to elevate sport programs!