Drew Songer ’14 – During my time as the Social Media and Marketing Intern for the Athletics Department/Wrestling Program, I have been exposed to a wide variety of challenges and experiences. Over the course of the summer, I have been working closely with Assistant Wrestling Coach, Danny Irwin and the Director of Sports Information and Sports Marketing, Brent Harris. Most of the work done with Coach Irwin has been geared towards developing the wrestling program, while the work with Brent has been geared towards understanding NCAA marketing limitations and the world of media.
The position has given me the ability to do camera work for the wrestling camp as well as develop some video editing skills in the media center. Furthermore, I was also able to interview some of the best wrestlers in the world such as Olympic gold medalist, Cael Sanderson, and NCAA Champion, David Taylor. Regardless of the importance of these experiences, the most daunting task of the summer has been developing a marketing plan for the wrestling program. I will admit, at the beginning of this internship I wasn’t sure how to construct a marketing plan. Of course, I had some ideas about how to market for events, but I had no clue how to properly develop and organize a plan that would promote a program. However, with the help of Coach Irwin, I quickly realized that the most important part of this process was to define how we wanted the program to be viewed and what values our wrestling program would represent. In a nutshell, this meant that we needed to create a brand for Wabash Wrestling. This brand, or set of values, will enable the wrestling program to consistently market itself because it will be promoting a lifestyle, an experience rather than simply the ability to participate in an extracurricular activity. I have learned that branding a program, business, or institution is essential in moving forward, because it provides a foundation from which to work.
Like I mentioned before, the summer has not been entirely geared towards wrestling. Working with Brent has helped me realize that social media can be an athletic program’s greatest tool, but also their downfall if used inappropriately. I have been able to determine what is and is not allowed under NCAA regulations. Furthermore, Brent has opened up my eyes to the world of live media. Just last weekend, I was part of the production crew for the live streaming of the North vs. South All-star Baseball series that was held at Goodrich Ballpark. The majority of the population probably underestimates the amount of preparation that is involved in producing a live broadcast. We started setting up for the event two days before it was to start and still had a few modifications to make the morning before the first game. I learned how the production director orchestrates the changes between different camera shots, commercials, and overlaying graphics. I also experienced what it was like to deal with technical difficulties while on the air. Furthermore, I was able to personally operate one of the cameras and control the angles that were used in the broadcast.
This summer has helped me grow personally as well as contribute to something greater than myself. This contribution applies to the continuation of the tradition of excellence that Wabash is notorious for. As a last remark, make sure you keep a look out for the implementation of the wrestling program’s new marketing plan. I am convinced that this new brand will not only help the program grow, but that it will also change lives and produces ideal Wabash men.