The annual bacchanal of basketball we call March Madness is about to begin. This celebration of college hoops is not only a major distraction for much of America, but it is also a major money maker and a huge opportunity for schools at every level to make an impact.
There are many ways in which colleges and universities can ride March Madness into PR nirvana, but here are several of the biggest opportunities. Larger schools like Duke and UNC have an opportunity to cement their legendary status and to one-up their rivals. A few weeks back Duke edged UNC in a well-played contest. But that was just bragging rights. The Bracket Dance is that rivalry game writ large. It’s about more than just bragging rights. It’s about fortune and glory.
Up and coming programs can get a much-needed boost. College Basketball, like any other industry, has a handful of top brands. These are schools and teams that win year in and year out, programs with storied pasts that also manage to find a way to stay relevant. However, there are others who tend to find themselves on the bubble. They have a few good years then fade, or they make a deep run and then get bounced the next year.
For these potential second and third tier brands, March Madness is a chance to go toe-to-toe with the Big Dogs and win some respect and fame for playing them hard, then win inclusion in The Club by beating them fair and square. This may happen in different ways in the corporate world, but the opportunities are there, and the results can be similar if a brand is ready to make a move.
Remember when BlackBerry not only owned the smartphone market, they pretty much WERE the smartphone market. Then came the iPhone…and everything changed. The entire market reality shifted. March Madness can have the same impact on the multimillion-dollar industry of college hoops. Better still, the fans can come along for the ride.