CU’s Brand: Who are we?

Courtesy – Creighton Athletics

Creighton University Athletics Mission Statement: the online brand rater has a Creighton listing in their YouGov Ratings.
YouGov Ratings measures the popularity and fame of anything and everything, based on millions of responses from the American public. Find out more

Creighton is listed under the sports heading. CU is rated in the 14% (percentile), as the 253rd most popular sports team in America and the 274th most famous. We’ve got nowhere to go but up.

Creighton Performance-wise:  Our brand is that of a non-elite school – good, but not good enough. We are neither a nor b below. We are a good college basketball team that is a midpack major.  Creighton wins consistently, but not well enough to challenge for conference honors, and while we make the NCAA tourney with frequency, we do not perform particularly well as we generally are 1 and done, occasionally 2 and out.

a) There are good college basketball teams that win games, challenge for conference championships and perform well during March Madness.
b) Then, there are programs that consistently do all of those things year after year and regularly find themselves in contention for national championships. (elites)

Of the five listed components in this article. We lack a few things: Exceptional Leadership, NCAA success, and Longterm Recruiting Success

Until we –
1) improve upon our routine performance and our recruiting,
2) win a couple of conference championships,
3) make a couple of ncaa runs or more, or
4) all of the above
– the public perception of Creighton being good, but not good enough (and the perception of major recruits) probably will not change.

Fortunately, I believe our recruiting is improving incrementally. If we land either/both Murrell – Kalkbrenner it will continue the improving track of the last few years. (I think 2019 was an aberration). Our current team has the capability to challenge for the conference title(s) and potentially make a NCAA run. We have these guys for 2 more seasons (counting this one). We have the opportunity to improve public perception and increase brand visibility. IMO we are getting to where we want to be – slowly, incrementally. Would I prefer a faster pace? Yes.

Improvements:  Michael Sheehan makes good points in his article on rebuilding Boston College’s hoops image.

Update Logos and images – Done

One slogan –  ??

Improve Uni’s – Done

Improve Gameday presentation – Done

Improve marketing in select markets, online, ESPN/CBS/Fox –  ??

Improve PR –  ??

Jays have already done the work with logos, unis, and gameday experience (court).  Do we have a unified sports slogan for the department?  What select placement of online and TV ads can we utilize to increase our brand recognition.  PR/SID should have routine pre-connects with national as well as local media for speed and ease in getting out our message(s) irt history, promotions, as well as for situational awareness (reacting to emergencies/bad press (FBI trials) and NCAA pronouncements).

We’ve done some good work already and can add to that work with a unified slogan, select placement of online & tv ads, and increased PR work.  I’d like to see CU move into the top 150 of recognized sports teams in the USA. Ratings/All Sports teams
Pos Opinion % Team Pop Rank Famous Rank Heard of  %
22 Nova 121st 149th 53
20 Uconn 142nd 152nd 53
19 Gtwn 155th 173rd 49
17 Butler 180th 218th 43
17 Marq 182nd 214th 44
15 SH 220th 219th 43
15 DePaul 223rd 241st 40
14 StJ 252nd 306th 34
14 Cr8n 253rd 274th 37
13 Xavier 262nd 269th 38
11 Prov 314th 313th 33
25 Duke 87th 117th 62
21 Gonzaga 125th 160th 51
20 Syracuse 140th 147th 54

Two surprises here.  Butler still riding the wave of their 2 FF/Finals appearances.  DePaul, decades away from its’ fame, but still in the public eye (for losing?).


From Mike Sheehan’s article: Perception is reality:

Dissecting & Enhancing the Boston College Hoops Brand

Networks like ESPN are always looking for on-location filler – those quick clips and live shots coming in and out of commercial breaks, especially – we should give them as much material as possible.


As much as we make fun of the Syracuse “New York’s College Team” campaign…they’re on to something. I’ve scoffed at it before at bars in NYC…and how have non-BC / non-Cuse friends and others I’ve mentioned it to respond? “Well, it’s not necessarily WRONG… I can’t think of who else would be NY’s college team.” Nobody’s reaction is “COME ON. Notre Dame carries that market more than CUSE!” … Again, perception is reality.

As with our uniforms vs. Oregon… I’m not saying we start a mirror campaign claiming to be “Boston’s College Team.” But there’s so much more we can do to draw casual fan interest in Boston. And it’s much easier for anyone in the Boston area to check out a game at Conte on a week night than it is for someone in Manhattan to drive 6 hours to the Carrier Dome. The reality is we are the ONLY school in Boston playing big-time ball (sorry, Harvard, but Sully from Southie is never going to Cambridge to watch you play Columbia…not that you’d want him to). We need to execute the right advertising strategy. I’m not sure what the campaign slogan should be, but I do know that if we match the right message with the right distribution, we’ll make big headway.

We need to surround Boston sports fans in ways that are native to their “fan” experience. Billboards along the pike near Fenway… in-stadium/TV-visible signage (Cuse buys ad space at MSG and Yankee Stadium) at Fenway, the Garden, and Gillette…These things are not as expensive as you might think (I work in advertising).

Even cheaper / more efficient: digital advertising. While we’ve made great strides in the way BC operates its own twitter account, Facebook page, etc…there’s so much we can do in terms of direct advertising that, to my knowledge, BC is not doing. We can buy incredibly cheap newsfeed ads on Facebook targeted to, say, Men age 12-44 in the greater Boston area…on a “Cost-per-acquisiton” basis – basically, we can blast our ticket promotions and only give Facebook a cut for conversions. There’s still a value to those impressions where users don’t convert to buy a ticket…we’re being SEEN. We’re driving AWARENESS. So many businesses – from JetBlue to local florists – do this. There’s no reason we can’t buy ad space on official sites for the Pats / Celtics, or prominent Boston blogs (like SB Nation’s Pats Pulpit). Sports apps – ESPN, theScore, TeamStream – offer deep personalization features and targeting capabilities…no reason we can’t buy targeted impressions against Celtics fans on these platforms. I work for one of those aforementioned apps (and used to work in ad sales here at SB Nation) … I know not only that this is possible, but that it’s effective, and that it’s EFFICIENT.

Lastly, the creative for this campaign must be unified with the message that we would be sending through our re-branded logo, facilities, etc.: it should scream history, tradition, excellence, and excitement.

Public Relations

In a sense, this goes hand-in-hand with marketing. My mantra here: look at what Gene did, and do the opposite. Brad Bates seems to get that, is very polished, and a great face/speaker for the school and program. I hope he continues to make strides embracing the community and fan base. Obviously, however, we all were alarmed by his seeming inability to control the message re: Donahue. No matter where “Thamel’s” sources came from, if the decision had not been made, Bates should have issued an IMMEDIATE statement refuting the report – he should not have waited as long as he did for Vega to call him, and get that quote published. With the modern ability to disseminate information in real time, there’s no excuse for the way BC and Bates let Donahue’s status linger.

To conclude, I realize that none of the above matter if we don’t also win basketball games, but I think it’s foolish to think that our image isn’t affected by how BC / BC Hoops portrays itself beyond the W-L record. Would love to hear what you all think.