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Penn State Football: Message Key For Franklin And His Plan For Success

by on May 20, 2014 1:15 PM

In another life James Franklin may have been a world class marketing agent.

But as a head football coach Franklin has less time for the commercial world of marketing and advertising then he does for game tape and recruiting visits.

Even so, Franklin is still all too aware of the value of a strong message and an even stronger brand.

With the second logo slated to be added to the south endzone scoreboard in the coming weeks, Franklin is already raving about the addition of the first one to the north scoreboard. They're now the most visible sources of program branding in town.

“I love it, I think it has been great,” Franklin said in Williamsport on Tuesday morning. Franklin is on the road again -- taking part in the final week of travel on Penn State’s coaches caravan. “I think those things are important. I was in Alabama on Sunday and I was coming back from the airport and you could see over the top of the trees the logo on the back of the stadium and it was really cool. I think it’s going to be even cooler at night when it’s lit up.”

While addressing a sold out crowd inside a building at the Penn College of Technology, fans came for the football, but for Franklin football is only part of the job. Building a brand, a message and a image are all a major part of finding success on the field and there is little he doesn’t have a hand in.

“I think those things are very important,” Franklin said of the new Beaver Stadium logo and branding at large. “I think branding is really, really important that you’re reinforcing those messages. I had a bunch of people call me and tell me there was a traffic jam on campus and there shouldn’t be because most of the students were gone. But everybody was driving slow and looking at it and pulling over to the side of the road and taking pictures. I think those things are very important.”

“I think it was genius, I think the scoreboards are going to be great and the branding on the back of the scoreboards are going to be great.”

Franklin’s hand in branding and message doesn’t stop at Beaver Stadium though (the scoreboard logos are part of a renovation that was planned long before his arrival). Penn State’s newest head coach gives the ‘ok’ to almost everything from Facebook posts to videos posted on YouTube. A good message is great, but a good message with consistency is even better.

“There’s not a whole lot that goes out without me seeing it first,” Franklin said.

“Mike (Hazel, Director of Ops) has a very good understanding of how we want to do things and he’s very creative and very thorough and very detailed, but he’ll usually show me things before we release them. I just think it’s important that the message, the same consistent message and branding and access that we’re providing I think it’s important that there’s consistency in there.”

"We have great traditions and history, but I want to make sure that we're current and up to date. When a kid comes into our facility or a family comes into our facility not only do they respect the history and traditions but they feel like the program is relevant now and is embracing technology and embracing social media. That's one of the first things I do every morning, I get on the internet and study what is going on, what other programs are doing in terms of creative ideas in terms of marketing in terms of branding."

It’s safe to say fans are enjoying the new branding and message as hundreds wore Penn State hats and “Dominate The State” shirts on Tuesday. And it’s safe to say they’ll enjoy the message even more when it turns into a Charlie Sheen-esque saying.


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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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