Despite the brutal weather around us, it is indeed the middle of March. That can only mean one thing – March Madness has begun. Your co-workers have their brackets filled out and are already overreacting the first round upsets or bragging about being perfect through one day. Yes indeed, the magic season is upon us.
But for public relations professionals, it is also a time that provides a valuable lesson in communications: getting your messaging lost in the shuffle. Throughout the year, we try and frame our clients around different events, such as March Madness, the Super Bowl, or holidays like Thanksgiving. Often times the message is great and well thought out, but simply gets drowned out by everyone else with similar ideas. Much like the teams entering the big dance this weekend, playing to your strengths may not be enough. It’s time to get creative.
Image by Chris Kuga used under CC licensehttps://www.flickr.com/photos/126928999@N04/
Take our friends at Syracuse, for example. While they aren’t dancing this year, they are a great example of getting creative. They’ve got all the makings of a great team – well-coached, top tier players, etc. But so does every other championship team, so the Orange needs to stand out. Besides bright orange jerseys, their 2-3 zone is not only unique but many times perfectly executed that opponents have no idea where to even begin. That creativity gives them the edge to stand out and make a splash each year they join the madness.
Wichita State, a school that most people likely hadn’t heard of before 2013, took this creativity idea one step further. As a small conference school, the Shockers do not have the luxury of picking from the top athletes year in and year out. But a few years ago, the team made an incredible run to the Final Four while taking down giants in Gonzaga and Ohio State. Without access to the best players in the country, the team put together a seemingly random mix of guys with various skill sets. They had underdogs and overlooked talents, who made the most of their time on the big stage. They stood out amongst the crowds and used that creativity in building a team to do the unthinkable.
Can this method work for your clients? Before lumping the brand into the vast group of other brands who are positioning themselves similarly, take a look and see what truly makes your client unique. What will stand out? If you can get a little more creative, your message will travel further into the tournament.