The Importance of Storytelling: Celebrating NCAA Football

September 21, 2018

The Importance of Storytelling: Celebrating NCAA Football

The Importance of Storytelling: Celebrating NCAA Football

"Inside each of us is a natural born storyteller just waiting to be released."
- Robin Moore

For millennium, storytelling has been used as a tool to communicate. Stories have been used to entertain, teach, or influence. Messages are made memorable through stories. In today's world of marketing and branding, the art of storytelling appeals to the consumer's desire for understanding, authenticity, and connection. Eric Danetz, Global Chief Revenue Officer, AccuWeather, has said that with "competition for consumer attention and brands targeting for greater personalization and impact, storytelling becomes key to establishing an emotional connection with your audience. In terms people and businesses can relate to, storytelling illustrates how a brand will meet customers' needs and in turn, builds loyalty."

A good marketing campaign should focus on the following elements:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Building trust
  3. Customer focus
  4. Multiplatform - print and digital (mobile and desktop)
  5. Visual elements

This is an article about how a large organization has chosen to use storytelling (both visual and in words) as a means of celebration. In 2019, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) will be celebrating an anniversary you may not have heard about; their 150th year of college football. How has the NCAA chosen to commemorate such a milestone? By telling their story through a multi-faceted approach across a broad range of platforms.

Earlier this year, a new 150th NCAA football logo was unveiled. The simplified logo was designed with both print and digital media in mind. Ed O'Hara, chief creative officer of the company that designed the logo, said the logo "had to be clean and iconic, while fully scalable and flexible enough to be adopted by institutions wishing to express their profound college football stories. Reflected in the mark's final aesthetic, it is envisioned that this logo will serve as a point of pride around the country." The new logo will be adopted in 2019 by approximately 800 colleges and universities.

Taking a step beyond the new logo, sports broadcasting company ESPN has committed to telling the story of college football. Throughout 2019, they will profile NCAA football from its early days after the American Civil War to weekend staple that it is today. ESPN plans to use a variety of platforms - digital, mobile, and social content - to tell an authentic story. It will "take fans and users on an unprecedented journey, with new content every day on its platforms and networks that will articulate college football's story - past, present and future - through the games, traditions, developments and people that helped shape the sport."

By basing a marketing campaign on authenticity and visual elements, NCAA football is employing the art of storytelling to appeal to the consumer's desire for understanding, authenticity, and connection. As Michelle Palmer of The Marketing Arm says, "college football is truly part of Americana - and will continue to unite fans, build communities, provide educational opportunities, and instill leadership qualities within young people across this country for many decades to come."

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