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While I’m usually helping female business builders strengthen their personal brand to gain more sales – the same strategies I teach can also pour into other industries such as college athletics. 

As you may know, I’ve been around college athletics as a girlfriend turned wife of a Division I then player now a coach for over 20 years. Coaching for 16 years, my husband has been at four colleges from an assistant at a couple of mid-major schools then onto a power five school, and now the head coach at a mid-major.

So today, instead of talking to you myself about how branding is used in college athletics I have a special guest with me – my husband and college men’s basketball head coach for SEMO – Southeast Missouri State University – Brad Korn.

Branding in Basketball: Two Key Ways College Athletics Uses Social Media with Special Guest Coach Brad Korn
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Welcome Coach Korn

So even though my listeners are mainly female business builders, I believe this is a topic that needs to be discussed more. So if you are listening and have a son or daughter or relative looking to be recruited by a college for sports or even academics please share this episode with them; it’s going to be very valuable.

Personal branding is an ongoing process of establishing a descriptive image or impression in the minds of others about yourself.

You do this with your voice and visuals.

So with this in mind, the way I see it, there are two key ways college athletics uses social media.

The first is by the players

So whether coaches are scanning the social feeds of a possible recruit… or when a kid is on a scholarship and they now represent the college as a player. Their personal brand is significant.

The second way is to promote the brand of basketball of the team

They do this to encourage more community support, gain recruits’ attention, and attract more fan attendance.

Q. Let’s say you have a player on your radar to recruit to your school… what’s the first thing you do to get a better understanding if they are a good fit for your program? What are some red flags on a social media account of a recruit?


In reality, everything a player posts online does say something about the digital footprint they are creating. Good or bad – everything they post does reflect their reputation and the impression they are leaving with readers. 

Q. So if a parent of a player or a player looking to get recruited is listening, what are some things they could do to showcase their brand on social media as professionals while showing off their personality and character?


So even as a player is getting recruited and then becomes a player on your team – the same social media rules apply.

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Q. How do you talk to your players about social media? Because in reality, they are a direct reflection of your program – so how do you discuss this with them?

When I think of a player’s brand, I believe it’s important to focus on the things that make them MORE than an athlete. Their time in college will come to an end and every athlete should be focusing on promoting who they are as a brand beyond the game.

With such an unknown for sports being played at all due to COVID – sports fans are hungry for any piece of content they can digest about a player and team. 

SEMO Mens Basketball Brad Korn - The brand of basketball by Kristin Korn
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Alright so let’s jump into the second way college athletics uses social media and that’s to promote the brand of basketball of the team. 

In the last 16 years, we’ve been at four colleges. This doesn’t sound like a lot but we have moved four times over the previous eight years so we’ve been around different athletic programs and experienced all levels of Division I college athletics…  from mid-major to power five conferences. 

When I reflect on these athletic programs’ brands, I think you’d agree with me that there’s a definite right and wrong way to establish a brand for a college athletics team.

Q. As a head coach with a bit more pull these days, how important is it to build and promote a SEMO basketball brand that people can get behind?


I know I have tried to help you in this area, so let’s go over three bullet points we are trying to do to establish and promote the SEMO Basketball brand.

Get out into the local community

We can’t expect people to support SEMO basketball if we aren’t supporting them, so talk about what you’re doing to get out into the SEMO community and interact? 


Consistent Visual Communication 

So this is creating a memorable, cohesive aesthetic for your photos, graphics, and visual online presence – so your fans can create a memory structure around who SEMO is… I know SEMO just did a re-brand for their logos – talk about that process and what that means for the university?


SEMO Mens Basketball Brad Korn - The brand of basketball by Kristin Korn
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Deepen relationships via social media

Deepen relationships via social media and other media outlets by Telling the story of the SEMO brand.

This is a big topic for me because it’s a huge part of how I help business builders – but whether it’s a coach, manager, or player on your program – you’ve all grown up in different ways. 

You each have lived different lives, and experienced different things. And all of those layers and layers of pivots, life cycles, and experiences led each of you to SEMO. 

And even though the stop on the journey may all look similar right now, the stories along the way are all so varied. Not every player took the same 4 year highschool path – not every coach has 16 years experience like you do.

I believe the brand story is how SEMO basketball creates influence and helps it attract more fans and supporters. A story can create such an emotional connection with possible fans. 

There are thousands of basketball players in Division I sports but no two have the same story… it’s how SEMO can set itself apart from other schools and make your program memorable to more possible fans.

Just how a business owner is looking for more clients and sales – the same goes for a basketball program – we are always looking for more fans and more butts in seats, for more financial support, and community involvement.


in closing

I genuinely believe branding is the key foundation to building a reputation, credibility and, most importantly, finding success in your professional and personal life. 

Having established a personal brand consulting agency to help women build strategic online marketing plans while also having a front-row seat to college athletics – I’m very passionate about both. I recognize the power social media has when it comes to college recruiting, gaining more loyal fans, and the overall value storytelling has for a program.

Your brand is what others say about you when you leave the room and by using the right visuals and voice, you control this impression.

Other episodes you may enjoy is “Ep 41: Is Your Website Costing You, Clients? How To Best Grab A User’s Attention In Under 12 Seconds.


Ep 23: Why It May Be Time To Marie Kondo Your Content Marketing Strategy

Search by the current stage of your brand + business in order to find more relative content to help you along with your journey.

by Kristin Korn

Ep 43: Branding in Basketball: Two Key Ways College Athletics Uses Social Media


I help you go from feeling stuck and stagnant to being in total control of building a confident, brand-focused, and automated online business.

I believe your life experiences and layers of pivots help define what you stand for and lead you to a life with purpose.

Using my signature Business Building Roadmap, I help you generate high-quality leads and increase sales conversions by applying an automated sales process through consulting, courses, done-for-you solutions, and a membership library.


I'm kristin korn.
Your new Brand Marketing & Sales Strategy Coach.

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