Faces of the Big Ten

People remember stories. Tell them.

I believe that stories are the thread that connects consumers to brands. A brand that knows how to tell a powerful story is memorable. After all, emotion is one of thing that ties humans together.

We need more storytelling from teams and leagues. There’s too much on-the-field action and not enough human-interest pieces.  There’s too much stats coverage and not enough behind-the-person coverage.  ESPN has seen success with their storytelling pieces from 30 to 30 to their College GameDay features, and it’s time to take notice.

Fans don’t only care about what the players do on the field. They also care about who they are off the field. Why? Because their personal struggles and gains, tragedies and triumphs are what makes professional athletes relatable. It’s the human emotion.

I came across a Big Ten campaign that does just that… makes their student-athletes relatable. The campaign, Faces of the Big Ten, profiles student-athletes from schools across the league in 30-second video clips, all with different angles. There are stories of loss, of family, of dreams, of perseverance and so much more. Here’s a look at a few of my favorites:

This concept can easily be replicated across athletic departments and leagues:

  • The theme could be carried into a larger campaign- digital presence, written pieces, social activations, etc. and used by all schools in the conference to help carry the message.
  •  The content is not only useful for social, but it is also great for alumni communications, donor communications, in-venue activations, etc. The videos have more than one place.

It’s important to remember the importance of human-interest pieces. Every student-athlete has a story (as does every professional athlete). I’m so glad the Big Ten is telling them.

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