Our reading on brand ambassadorships coincided pretty perfectly with the Syracuse Orange’s win in the Elite Eight and the mass exodus of ‘Cuse fans, students and staff to Atlanta, Georgia. In looking at the general buzz around the Final Four game against the Michigan Wolverines, there are thousands of examples of people advocating for the “Syracuse University” brand (whether because they are paid to do so, or just want to be a part of the hype and anticipation).
I’ve been following the #CUSEtoATL feed (now #CUSEinATL, as they’ve arrived) on Twitter, and keeping an eye on the RebelMouse site (if I’m not mistaken, set up by our own Kelly Lux), and have noticed that it has taken some of the advice in our online readings to heart.
Membership is exclusive.
On a wider scale, the membership can include students and fans all over the world. But this particular journey and discussion is focused on the travel logs of a small group of SU staff members. There is an athletics and multimedia focus, because both are so centric to the tournament and its web presence. But a member of the Alumni Relations office was also along for the ride, and as she made her way south, she met with SU alumni about the “Orange network,” why they chose Syracuse, and their individual career paths.
As an aside, students were not involved on this trip, and hundreds, if not thousands of students wanted to go to Atlanta. While they did eventually get the funding and support to organize a university-sanctioned bus trip to the Georgia Dome, it would have been awesome to see them directly involved in this social media campaign. I know it was a limited time frame, but I would have loved to see contest held for students with multimedia or social media skills apply to cover the #CUSEtoATL trip, in return for transportation. And how awesome it would have been for them to meet alumni and fans along the way?
Connect with advocates. Provide ways for them to connect with each other.
This is a given in the trip’s use of social media, but it’s also unique in the planning of the trip’s stops. Some of these included Eric Mower and Associates (an advertising agency with a satellite branch here in Syracuse, NY), a variety of restaurants, and other attractions. Connections were both in person and via social, and involved a variety of topics, from rats at a science museum to fun historical facts about each town visited. And the times and locations of the #CUSEtoATL team were announced beforehand, providing events for people to look forward to and post about in anticipation.
Don’t try to control the community’s message.
While it’s true that this topic was already rather specific, it’s important to note that submissions were allowed from a wide variety of people, in a variety of locations. Some moderation is always necessary, but as events occurred at different TV stations, places of employment, or involving the very youngest fans across the country, a diverse and interesting set of variations on “Go, ‘Cuse!” made it to the website.
In summary, a job well done for the members of Athletics, Marketing and Alumni Relations who went on the trip. Enjoy the game, one and all, and GO ORANGE.