Executive Director's Report - Week of April 26
By Steve Locke
Week of April 26, 2010
For me, writing the weekly report is a fun weekly experience as it generates good response from a genuinely interested audience. It also helps me better grasp the needs of the members of USA Field Hockey as members frequently and eloquently let me know their feelings whether through questions posed within the report or just general and random thoughts they may be having. A good example was last week when I expressed some disappointment that member generated renditions of a potential membership card weren't exactly rolling in even with a great prize package (the winner gets a full ASICS kit and a DITA stick; not bad for a creatively provided idea of what a membership card should look like). We now have some coming in that are quite good. The deadline date is May 1st and entries should be send to USA Field Hockey's David Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org). The winner will be announced in the May 17th USA Field Hockey Weekly Report.
Let's take a look at another proposal we are needling through. In the past, there has been pretty heady restriction of how our logo should be used. In the "back then" days, it was felt that if we allowed random use of the logo that the use of our logo by sponsors would be diluted. That is true as one of the components of a sponsorship arrangement is the use of the logo. However, there is a lot to be said for widespread use of the logo and one element is that within the science of marketing, a logo or name of a product must be seen or heard 10-20 times before a consumer begins to recognize it (and, many more times for the name/logo to become top-of-mind). To balance the needs of preserving the value of the logo, but still get the name and logo look into the sport's top-of-mind and into the mainstream, there is another approach.
It is commonly found in other NGBs that the use of a descriptor interprets why the logo is being used. For instance, if the user is a sponsor the descriptor Official Partner may be used beneath the logo to describe the logo user. That descriptor provides USA Field Hockey creditability to the sponsor-partner. Another example may be coaches. Using coaches, a descriptor beneath the logo might be Coach-Level I (or II or III; whatever the case may be). A typical trait of human beings is that we like to tell others what our interests are (or, in some cases how important we are). That is why we see shirts or bumper stickers saying Ironman Triathlon Finisher, or My Daughter is the Smartest in All of the Land at Lincoln Elementary School, and the list goes on and on. The same goes with coaches or many other constituencies. People like to display what they are and/or what they have earned. Below are several examples of our logo with descriptors:
What do you think? Would you like seeing widespread use with descriptors? Do you buy the concept? Please let Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey's Director of Marketing know your thoughts (email@example.com).
Our reality as a sport is that we are considered a minor sport in the USA. Baseball, Basketball, and Football dominate; then Hockey (ice) and Soccer come along; then Motorcar Racing; and, after that, there is a great assemblage of all sorts of sports (some Olympic, some not, and some being newly invented weekly). All said, it is very difficult for most minor sports to penetrate the national, regional, and local sports pages. There has to be a better way of gaining mainstream recognition.
We are exploring another way to gain some mainstream national coverage, and are looking at niche' publications. There are several publishing houses in the United States that publish numerous magazines (titles or books in publishing parlance). One group based in Orlando is Bonnier. Here is a sample of their titles:
That is quite a collection of books. The Bonnier diversity provides a wide spectrum of opportunity for USA Field Hockey. Several months ago I asked you through this report to help find "hooks" within the USA Field Hockey community to get our athletes, coaches, umpires, and others who have interesting and compelling stories into niche' mainstream publications. We now have several and they have been presented to Bonnier for consideration. Let's take a look at a couple of our "hook" pitches to Bonnier:
The first features Keli Smith. We are pitching a story involving this Olympian to Working Mother and Babytalk:
At different points in their careers, many female athletes question when is the right time to retire, to hang up their jersey and move on to the next challenge in their life: starting a family.
Keli Smith, member of the USA Field Hockey Women's National Team, is one of the top international strikers in the world. Already highly decorated as the 1999 NCAA National Champions at University of Maryland, Keli joined the National Team in 2001 and grew to be one of the team's leaders. Her effort and determination culminated at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she scored three goals in competition.
Now a veteran member of the squad, she has seen several of her peers hang up their sticks as they decide to start families of their own.
In January, Keli gave birth to a baby boy, Xavi Oscar. It was now Keli's time to decide her future.
Rather than retiring, Keli is determined to make a comeback to the Women's National Team. While balancing her new role as a mother, Keli wants to return to work, to the training and drills and competition at an international level. With Xavi by her side, she wants to prove she still has the skill to help lead the USA to the 2012 Olympics in London.
The second features Olympians Kayla Bashore and Lauren Powley and a pitch to Outdoor Life:
Kayla Bashore and Lauren Powley, members of the USA Field Hockey Women's National Team, are two 2008 Olympians turned budding entrepreneurs, who combined the sport they love with their passion for the outdoors to form KaPow Field Hockey Kamps.
KaPow's Adventure Kamp helps mold the lives of young girls with on-field and off-field challenges aimed at improving their game as well as their sense of teamwork through a unique combination of field hockey, camping and white-water rafting.
Every summer, Kayla and Lauren take time out from their Olympic training and return to their native Pennsylvania to conduct field hockey camps in one of the main hotbeds of field hockey in the United States. Kayla and Lauren offer advice and skills training to the girls as they look to succeed at middle and high school levels, as well as improve their stock as college coaches begin to recruit. Nights are spent camping under the stars, and the weekend is topped off with a white-water rafting trip down the Lehigh River.
"You won't find another field hockey program anywhere that combines the best aspects of Olympic-level training and top-flight coaching with team-bonding opportunities like roasting hot dogs and s'mores over a campfire, or helping your coaches and teammates steer a rubber raft down the river!"
We have several more stories involving both men and women athletes and we have pinpointed different magazine titles based upon the outside interests of these athletes. Hopefully, we experience success with this effort as we seek placements in these magazines. We will also be attempting placement in Rodale Publishing titles (mostly endurance and outdoor types of titles). Wish us luck, and if you have people from within the sport with an interesting "hook", please let Simon Hoskins know.
From last week's celebration of Earth Day: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: "Everyone says we need to do more to protect the Earth. With volcanoes, mudslides, earthquakes, hurricanes - who's protecting us from the Earth?"
Have a great week!
USA Field Hockey