Advertising to Millennials? Save Time & Money by Studying The Oregon Ducks
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Millennials are hard to figure out. They don’t seem to be buying stuff, really only care about experiences, and interact with the world around them in a very different way then the generations before them. This leads to the obvious question, if the the most popular brands can reach millennials in a meaningful way, how can small businesses and start-ups?
Many brands think the answer lies in social media and their advertising and marketing teams are going all-in on Snapchat and Instagram content. While this may be successful, it’s an expensive and risky proposition: are brands welcome in their personal space? And if they are receptive, what message will resonate?
When you don’t have the massive budget for trial and error advertising, looking into the real world to find examples that open an unfiltered view into the minds and actions of your audience. In this case, the Oregon Ducks football team is a great example of finding what 18-22 years olds find valuable. You can easily find lessons in creating your brand and marketing to millennials by studying how a high profile football team took over the football world with a brazen new idea.
So how did Oregon go from average to extraordinary? Amazing Branding. And Cool Swag.
Oregon football was never a football powerhouse. But over the past decade, it has become one of the top recruiting schools in the country. Before this year, the Ducks went to 7 straight major Bowl Games, including National Runners up in 2010 & 2014. Before then? They had been a major Bowls twice. Ever.
So why did this happen? Well, one of the main reasons is the uniforms. You heard that right! Oregon went over the top, understanding that college kids didn’t want to wear the same uniforms that their grandfather’s did.
Check Out These Unis!
Oregon changed their brand. They played up their corky Duck logo, went with neon yellow uniforms and chrome helmets. They tailored the brand to the audience. And they changed their uniforms every game. Big game? What uniform is Oregon going to wear?
Now, it helped that Phil Knight, founder of Nike, is a beneficiary. But they found a niche and they ran with it. Where NBA athletes were making millions on shoe deals, Oregon took that same desire that made athletic footwear an $18.2 Billion dollar business.
They tailored their style of play to the brand (or maybe the brand to the style of play). Under Chip Kelley, the Ducks played fast, running more plays than any team in the country. They were hip. New. Innovative. Their style on the field matching their brand off the field.
Being different can make a difference. And going on all to match your audience can separate you from the traditional powers. Branding is powerful. Finding the right person to help deliver on that brand promise (Phil Knight and Chip Kelley in Oregon’s case) may be just as vital.
Oregon wasn’t just successful because it was different. It was successful because it hit a nerve and delivered on its brand promise, finding a compelling reason to leave the dominate traditional SEC & Big 10 football powers to take a chance on a disruptive start-up in the great northwest.