By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
Sports fans love their teams. The diehards know the stats, their favorite players, who’s good, who’s bad, etc. What many probably don’t think about is what goes on behind the scenes, or the camera.
From regular companies, to college athletes, to professionals, all need to be taught on how to act in front of a camera, how to deal with the media, and how to treat themselves as their own “brand.”
That’s where 180 Communications comes in for the University of Michigan. This public relations firm helps with media relations for sports, fitness, health, and technology companies, according to Lee Gordon, Director of Corporate Communications.
“We make corporate videos and do web design as well as media training for athletes and corporate executives,” said Gordon. “We teach them about their personal brand, social media and on-camera tips.”
Gordon, who was a television anchor at CBS along with FOX for 15 years says that all of those who work at 180 have media type backgrounds, so they know what to expect from the media.
Along with Michigan, they also work with other college programs such as Kentucky, Rice, Illinois State, Ball State, South Carolina, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Oakland University, Montana, and California, along with the Atlanta Braves and Buffalo Bills of the MLB and NFL respectively.
Back in 2011, 180 worked with Michigan on their personal brand and social media. They taught the athletes how to be their own “CEO” of their brand and what that all means.
Last year, (2012), they came to the campus in Ann Arbor and taught them how to use their brand and promote it in the media.
They’ve also taught them how to prepare for questions from the media, especially the odd ones out of left-field, any questions about the University itself, and even questions that don’t even pertain to them. “We want them to go into every interview confident and ready to promote Michigan basketball and themselves,” said Gordon.
“On social media, our message is don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mom or a judge to see. What happens on the internet, stays on the internet,” says Gordon.
“Don’t break news on social media, don’t talk about injuries, bash teammates or say anything that could get you or the school in trouble.”
Even though the players go through some interesting training, they absolutely love it according to Gordon. “Not many of think of themselves as a brand, but but when you put measurement tools and analytics against it, they see the value in a positive brand,” said Gordon.
It’s not just the athletes on the basketball team that get the training. It’s all of the athletes on campus, from freshman to upperclassmen, said Gordon. What he likes about the University of Michigan, is that they offer something to everyone. “Everyone is educated and that shows how much they care about the student part of student-athlete.”