This past summer, Fresno State Athletics started a new marketing campaign focusing on the pride the people of Fresno and the Central Valley have of Fresno State and its sports programs.
The Pride of the Valley campaign was sponsored primarily through partnerships and has made a big splash since its first day on June 4.
The campaign consisted of putting out a video, placing nearly 2,000 yard signs, publishing newspaper advertisements and purchasing space on five billboards within the region from Sacramento down to Bakersfield.
“[The goal] is to reestablish our brand, who we are, and what we mean to this Valley, ”said Frank Pucher, senior associate athletics director for external relations and one of the creators of the campaign. “More than anything, we wanted to make sure that we bring back that incredibly special feeling that people have for Fresno State and what Fresno State means to this community.”
The team has promoted the campaign in other ways during the summer, such as working on other videos, having coaches visit different communities throughout the Valley and having Director of Athletics Terry Tumey speak to fans. The athletes have been giving back to the Valley community by volunteering.
For Pucher, the interactions he had in the beginning of his tenure in January with some community fans, former football head coach Pat Hill and the staff led him to discuss the idea that giving back to the community was the answer.
“People are proud of this place,” Pucher said. “The feeling that if you are from Fresno, that is a bad thing. That is how people interpreted it. But when you actually talk to people from here, they are truly proud of it.”
The campaign team also received help from Ashley Ilic, director of university brand strategy and marketing, along with her team and 10 to 12 of the athletics external staff, who played a large role in contributing to the campaign in different parts, as well as providing ideas.
The university can be a source of pride for students, alumni, community members and workers, giving them an enriching experience, whether that is through creating memories with their families, inspiring the kids from the community by looking up to the student-athletes, making an economic impact or spotlighting the agriculture industry through Fresno State platforms.
“You can track social media metrics. But you can not track pride and joy,” Pucher said.
Fresno State students have proven the success of the Pride of the Valley campaign, increasing the amount of student season tickets purchased last season by 192 percent this fall.
Last year, the number of student season tickets purchased was 160. There have been 400 student season tickets sold this Fall.
At the first football game, there were at least 3,000 students in attendance, bringing some much-needed energy to the game crowd.
Fresno State fans have been supporting the Pride of the Valley campaign by purchasing and wearing T-shirts. Last weekend, the Bulldog Shop had a record weekend. People have also been speaking and engaging on the Fresno State social media platforms.
“Thank you, students. You guys were such an awesome crowd. You did so much to the team, even though we lost, and hopefully, they continue to go out to more games because they truly make such an impact to our success, our brand and everything,” said Pucher.