Rebranding the Pac-12
On the annual 1st-year pilgrimage to San Francisco the Warsaw Center got the chance to meet with Pac-10 Chief Marketing Officer Danette Leighton and Director of Business Development Chris Giles. The two impressive executives walked us through the re-branding of the conference under new conference commissioner Larry Scott.
The Pac-10, soon to be named the Pac-12 after June 1st, was once viewed as a weak football conference dominated by USC and a basketball power of days gone by. Since Larry Scott took over the conference has been anything but an after-thought, adding two new teams (Colorado & Utah), creating a lucrative championship game, and negotiating with broadcast powers on a much anticipated television network.
Danette and Chris walked use through the case study of how they approached re-branding the conference; including creating a new cutting edge logo and a personality that better suits the Pacific Coast and the diverse teams that encompass the conference. They focused on what makes the conference different – its diverse geography, its hub of innovative technology firms, and history of excellence in Olympic sports. The re-branding has been a huge success on and off the field. In 2010-11 two Pac-10 football teams made the lucrative BCS (Oregon & Stanford) and Arizona made an impressive run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney.
Danette is focusing her marketing efforts on building on these recent successes as the conference transitions into the Pac-12 and its brand of innovation and the west coast life-style. The Pac-10’s prowess in Olympic sports is going to prove to be a valuable asset as the conference builds its networks footprint and creates year-long programming to capitalize on the highly viewed Olympic Games.
As we walked away from the meeting it was clear the Pac-10 was just beginning to grow, with a slew of powerful teams returning to the gridiron this fall and an aggressive marketing plan envisioned for the new network and a more expansive branding effort for the conference as a whole the new Pac-12 is ready to reverse its standing as one of the least lucrative conferences to one of the more lucrative, if not the most lucrative, in collegiate athletics.
– Rob Coppola, MBA ’12