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How do you brand the “Heisman Award” of Golf?
Collegiate golf is a prestigious game.
It has a long, storied, and vibrant history.
It is a proving ground for excellence.
It is the time when legends are born.
And while college golf is considered a team sport, every player plays against him or herself, always trying to beat yesterday’s personal best, ever striving to be better than the day before.
Yes, collegiate golf is a prestigious game.
And it deserves a prestigious award.
A year ago, the Haskins Award commission met to discuss plans for the 2012 season. They came up with a very simple goal: to elevate the Haskins Award to its rightful place in collegiate sport along side the Heisman Trophy. This wasn’t a marketing ploy. This wasn’t a recruitment tool. This was a matter of duty – a duty to celebrate the game of golf; a duty to celebrate the amazing athleticism and personal sacrifice of collegiate golfers themselves; and a duty to preserving and passing on the legacy of Fred Haskins to a younger generation that would never know the man himself.
And what makes this award so special, so unique, is that the recipient is awarded the Haskins not by a panel of administrators and pundits – the player that hoists the Haskins does so by winning not only the respect of their fellow players, but by winning their vote as well. This is peer review in its most pure and proficient form.
If you look at the PGA’s Greenbrier Classic, held just this past week, you will see just how effective the Haskins Award is at foretelling greatness in a young player. Multiple past recipients, including last year’s Patrick Cantlay and this year’s Justin Thomas, made the cut and finished well.
It has been a concerted effort to show how important and needed the Haskins Award is in Collegiate Golf, a well-oiled media machine with multiple moving parts. Stifel Nicolaus hosted numerous dinners and the awards ceremony itself at The Greenbrier Classic. Golfweek magazine partnered up and provided priceless opportunities for brand awareness through their “Haskins Watch.”
Naartjie’s job was simple. Produce collateral that would prove to attendees before the microphone had even been turned on that this was a prestigious award show.
And we were honored to do so.
Here is the approach we took:
We began by redesigning the logo and picking a look and feel to be reflected at first, in the new website, HaskinsAward.com, which gave an overview of the award, past winners, a blog and photo galleries, and the most important element – the voting system.
Then we set up the social media. Facebook.com/haskinsaward had a custom facebook page which was used as the landing page for Facebook referrals. The Greenbrier Classic was kind enough to take the same page and put it on their Facebook page which exposed it to their 8000+ fans. Twitter.com/thehaskinsaward, as well as a wikipedia page, were setup, as well. Many of our tweets were retweeted by the Golfweek staff which exposed the tweets to all of their followers.
A custom eblast was created and set up in Mailchimp in order to reach potential voters.
A fundraising banquet was set to raise awareness and funding from the local Columbus, GA citizens who had a vested knowledge of and sense of pride in the award, given that it originated at the Columbus Country Club. We designed invites and envelopes to be sent out with a focus on showcasing the prestige of the award. At the banquet there were menu cards and pledge cards at each seat.
But in our opinion, the piece that pulled on the heartstrings and got people the most excited about the future of the Haskins, were the videos we produced. First, there was a teaser. We were told that it gave viewers chill bumps as they watched it for the first time. The second video was a five-minute history of the Haskins, using never before seen footage of Tiger Woods accepting the award in 1996, as well as unpublished photos of Mr. Fred Haskins, graciously donated by his daughter.
This campaign was an emotive and affirming process that made everyone who had participated in the process proud to have been a part of such an incredible effort.
We are honored to be a part of the Haskins and look forward to its ever-brightening future as the “Heisman” of golf. Perhaps, years from now, another sports award will have their commission sitting around a table in some boardroom in some distant town, challenging themselves to create their version of “The Haskins.”
And should they need a hand, you know how to reach us.
A very special thanks to Jonathon Giles and Boutwell Studios in Birmingham for contributing their considerable talents – it is always a tremendous pleasure to work with you guys!
Until next time, keep your head down.