NextUp Town Hall Recap: Marketing Your Organization & Building Your Brand

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies across the country to rethink their business models and how they go about attracting and retaining customers. The youth sports community has been particularly hard hit by the “new normal,” but some organizations are looking at the situation as an opportunity to connect with their parents, players, and coaches in deep and meaningful ways. 

This week, we invited three industry experts—David Goerke, VP of Marketing at Augusta Sportswear; Doug Bernstein, General Manager at House of Highlights; and Jess Greenwood, Global Chief Marketing Officer at R/GA—to join us for a conversation about branding and marketing, and why it’s never been more important than it is today. 


1. Become a Social Media Expert


As the General Manager at House of Highlights, Doug Bernstein is well versed in the power of social media and how best to harness it. Each social media platform has a learning curve and organizations that skillfully utilize the same channels that their players and parents use on a daily basis have a major advantage over their competition, he said. 


Tip: To build a strong social media presence, you need to become an expert, he says. Take advantage of the kids in your life: they can help you embrace new platforms and technologies. 

1. Immerse yourself in the platform to gain an understanding of what is compelling in that universe
2. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired audience and imagine what they’d like to see
3. Study what your desired audience is already interested in
4. Continue to use the platform daily so you’re ahead of emerging trends


2. Stay In Front Of Your Customers In Creative Ways


Organizations need to get creative to stay relevant in the absence of actually playing sports. Players and parents are being reached via social media, email, video conferences, and text multiple times a day. That level of noise can make it difficult to reach your core audience in any meaningful way. Our panel of marketing experts weighed in with some clever tactics currently being employed by successful organizations.  


Tip: Utilizing video conferences that emphasize fun and entertainment over pure information sharing is one great way to get your kids energized. Trivia contests and scavenger hunts via Zoom are two games that are proven to be exciting and successful ways to stay in front of your players. If you’re interested in spicing up video tutorials or workouts, our panel suggests bringing in guest speakers/coaches to offer your players more variety. 


3. Over-Communicate, But Be Honest


Jess Greenwood, the Global CMO at R/GA, brought up a critical point in the final minutes of the Town Hall. Now is the time to over-communicate, because in the absence of clear and concise communication parents and players will begin filling in the missing pieces themselves. Losing control of the narrative is damaging to your brand, plain and simple. Parents, in particular, appreciate honesty and can sniff out misleading marketing techniques. 


Tip: Do not be afraid to admit that you don’t know the answer to a question. When faced with a difficult question, such as when you’ll be able to reopen, organizers have three options: the truth, a misleading statement or saying nothing at all. Admitting that you do not know the exact date, but will be consulting with local and state authorities to ascertain when it will be safe to return indicates that you prioritize safety and care about your parents and players. The mistake organizations make is shying away from questions that don’t have direct answers to, and leaving people in the dark. 


4. Simplify Your Message


David Goerke has worked in marketing for over two decades crafting messaging for McDonalds and Coca-Cola. Boiling down your mission and or message to a single word can have a profound impact on your organization. At Coca-Cola it was “happiness.” Once you identify your single word you can build consistency in your messaging. Another tip from Goerke is centered around connection. “Brands that are talking about getting through this crisis together, in a meaningful and united way, those brands get it.” Cutting through the noise by offering messages of support and unity is highly effective.


Tip: While it’s easy to feel as though you and your organization are in survival mode, it’s helpful to step back and ask “how do I want our organization to look coming out of this?” By identifying a handful of characteristics you would like your organization to embody on the other side of this crisis, you can refocus your entire organization positively and productively. 


These are just a few highlights from the hour-long discussion with our president Jeremy Goldberg. If you’d like to learn more from our four experts, you can stream the video recording by clicking here






This piece was written by a member of the LeagueApps content team.