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10 Steps to Building a Powerful Volleyball Brand


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Written by Pat Kohan

The Art of Coaching Volleyball

Colleges, high schools and clubs everywhere are pumping money into new facilities to attract talent. How can programs with old facilities and low budgets compete?

This is what Oregon State University did while trying to compete with big budget schools like it's neighbor the University of Oregon and its massive facility investments:

Slide Show of UofO's new Football Performance Center

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Like a lot of High Schools Volleyball teams and Clubs, Oregon State University competes at a high level with a comparatively low budget.

So instead of building facilities like UofO, the Beavers decided to ReBeave their brand.

If you're in a similar budget situation as Oregon State University keep reading for steps on how to to build a powerful Volleyball Brand:

Step 1: Define Your Brand

Defining a brand is what distinguishes your volleyball program from other competing programs while providing direction and motivation to its members.To define your brand answer these questions:

  1. What is it that makes your program different?
  2. Why does your club exist? or Why do you coach a team?

The first question will help you figure out the differentiating part of your brand and the second question will help discover why someone might be motivated to be involved.

The Why is key because "People don't buy What you do they buy Why you do it" - Simon Sinek Graduate Professor at Columbia University and creator of the "Golden Circle Concept"

Watch the first 5 minutes of his TEDx talk here. It is really good.

Why you coach or why your club exists is the reason you go to the gym everyday and if you can get your staff, players and parents to believe in that reason you have a shot at having a powerful volleyball brand that extends past expensive facilities.

Step 2: Get a great logo

Keep it Simple and Place it everywhere.

Here is a great article on creating an effective logo:

http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/5-branding-basics-every-logo-designer-should-know/

Step 3: Choose a font family

Use it everywhere you use type - Website, emails, flyers, invitations, schedules, etc.

Make sure you know how other people might associate with your font choice.

Here is a breakdown on some of the more popular typefaces and what people associate them with:

Sticking to our Beaver theme here is how Nike designers explain the custom Font they built for Oregon State:

Secondary Identity - Typography and Word Marks

Block typography has been a fundamental part of OSU's athletic heritage and speaks to the no-nonsense, hard-working nature of Oregon State athletes, coaches and fans. It is honest, strong, imposing - the perfect foundation for the future of Oregon State Athletics typography. Consistent usage of the typography will support the primary logo and ensure clarity and distinction in all Athletics communications.

Most high schools or clubs aren't going to design their own font but it would be wise to choose a consistent font that is in line with the message you want to be delivering.

Step 3: Pick Team Gear That is in Line with Your Brand

Elite team = High End popular brand jerseys much like a college teamOregon State Athletic Director Bob De Carolis admitted that uniforms don't win games or championships, but it's what the players like. And he wants to provide what attracts the top players, which in turn leads to more wins.

This might mean that you have to bite the bullet and go for the more expensive jerseys if the your brand is trying to communicate an elite look.

Volleyball for Everyone Brand = If you're trying to create a brand that is all about cutting out unneeded costs to allow as many players as possible the opportunity to play. Go with an inexpensive company that produces a quality product. All that really matters is that the jersey fits. Let your brand be the one people see not the clothing company's.

Step 4: Understand Your Colors

Just like your font choice people associate the colors you use on your jerseys and marketing materials a certain way. Here are a few common associations for popular colors:

Step 5: Integrate your brand

Branding extends to every aspect of your program--how you answer your phones, your voicemail message, what your coaches wear at practice and games, your e-mail signature, everything.

Tip: College coaches email signatures and voicemail messages all end with a cheer..."GO BLUE"...."WE ARE MARSHALL"...or "ROLL TIDE". Try it out.

Tip: Setting standards for clothing and manners at practice, when traveling, or at team functions can do a lot to communicate your message.

Step 6: Develop a tagline.

Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.This is your 180 character tweet about your team or club which should definitely be your description on your website, LinkedIN Group, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Here are some volleyball club taglines I found on twitter:

A.C.E.VBall ClubVolleyball Club supporting Military Connected Children

North Coast VBHard-to-find, one-of-a-kind, volleyball items for the serious player, enthusiast, and coach!

KC Lightning VBC ‏ ‪@KCLightningVBCVolleyball Club in the Heart of America Region of USA Volleyball

Tidewater Volleyball ‏ ‪@PlayTVAThe Tidewater Volleyball Association is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the promotion of volleyball in Hampton Roads.

VA Quest Volleyball ‏ ‪@VAQuestVBA girls volleyball league (Grades 6-12), that helps take your girls skills to the next level. We offer professional training in an encouraging environment!

Maverick Volleyball ‏ ‪@MavsVolleyballThe Maverick Volleyball Club serves Ottawa and it's surrounding communities in providing our youth with high quality volleyball programs.

Club IVA ‏ ‪@Club_IVAA competitive girls volleyball club on the Northeast side of Indianapolis.

Munciana Volleyball ‏ ‪@MuncianaVBAmerica's elite volleyball training program since 1974.

Step 7: Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing and administrative materials.

Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don't need to be fancy, just consistent.

Step 8: Be true to your brand

Players, Parents, and Coaches won't return to you--or refer you to someone else--if you don't deliver on your brand promise.

Step 9: Be consistent.

If you can't do this, your attempts at establishing a great volleyball brand will fail.

Step 10: HAVE A KILLER WEBSITE.

What is the first thing that Sophomores and Juniors do when a college coach starts recruiting them?They go to the website.

If it is a nice website they get excited and can't wait to have their picture in the front page slideshow.This is the same thing with 6th and 7th graders these days when they're looking at high school and club websites.

Nice website = good team or club in the mind of a Generation Z athlete

So many clubs shy away from this aspect because they think it's a time intensive/expensive process when really its not if you're working with the right people.

Tip: Stay away from templates built by sporting event organizations to avoid being wedded to their systems and fees.

I would recommend going with a local Wordpress Web Designer who is going to take the time to understand what you want, find an inexpensive solution and then show you how to manage the site on your own.

For The Art of Coaching Volleyball (TheArtofCoachingVolleyball.com) website we used a company called OnTarget Design (http://www.on-targetdesign.com/) out of New Albany, Ohio who has brought us up to speed on all the tips and tricks to manage an everyday Volleyball Content Website (TheArtofCoachingVolleyball.com) for coaches.

If you have any other questions or comments about this article please contact the author at:Director@TheArtofCoachingVolleyball.com


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