By Julie Talenfeld, President, BoardroomPR
There’s nothing like a good upset during the Annual NCAA tournament—it’s what puts the ‘mad’ in March Madness.
As noted in my post regarding Northwestern’s Wild(cat) ride to the tournament, the individual colleges should be using this newfound media attention as a branding opportunity to boost their reputations in the eyes of undergrad hopefuls, students and alums. This can really make a difference for these schools and their programs.
Let’s look at the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks were expected to lose to Duke on Sunday. In fact, USA Today Sports was so sure, they tweeted “Duke’s path to the Final Four looks ridiculously clear with Villanova’s loss.” After Sunday night’s upset, South Carolina tweeted “Oops.” with a screen shot of USA Today Sports’ Tweet. Yeah—‘Oops’ is right.
Coming into the tournament, here’s what the Gamecocks had going for them:
- They lost six of their last nine games
- They were in the field for the first time in 13 years
- They had not won a tournament game in 44 years
To top it all off, on Sunday, they were going against a team who had made it to the Sweet 16 five times in the last seven years.
Fast forward to the end of the game, the Gamecocks’ defense pulled through and the team beat Duke 88-81, which they had not done since 1970.
Like the Northwestern Wildcats, we should start to see the Gamecocks incorporate this historic victory into their marketing campaign to increase enrollment, sponsorships, generate a more loyal fan base, and engage alumni members.
After all, it’s in the best interest of these schools to spread the good vibes from the March Madness buzz—and we’re not talking about the buzzer.