OU athletic department unveils new marketing and branding campaign


A focus of the new strategic marketing campaign includes the slogan, “See the Bear, Be the Bear, Wear the Bear”.

By Jackson Gilbert

On Friday, Aug. 29, the Oakland University athletic director, Jeff Konya, announced a new branding and marketing campaign for the university’s athletic program. The emphasis of the campaign is to enhance name recognition for the school and includes the new slogan, “See the Bear, Be the Bear, Wear the Bear”.

Konya told The Oakland Post in a recent interview that OU’s name presents an identity challenge.

“If you told someone on the west coast about Oakland University, they wouldn’t necessarily place that school in Michigan,” Konya said.

According to the press release, OU is creating a coordinated campaign in which everyone is on the same page to push the Oakland brand.

“We have a strong logo and we want to take ownership over that inherent strength,” Konya said in the release. “From there we want to hit on multilevel platforms, social media, print, traditional advertising, television and radio broadcasts. Everybody has to have the same talking points. This has to be coordinated.”

The release said that students would notice the large-scale facility upgrades going on around campus including the new outdoor athletic complex and the lower fields athletic dome.

On top of that, last week, the university launched a poll on its Facebook page encouraging students and staff to vote on new basketball court designs. The options for the new court include a classic court design, a contemporary design and a new school blacktop design.

According to the athletic department website, the voting will close Jan. 31, 2015 and the design will be implemented for the 2015-16 season. The link to vote can also be found here.

The OU athletics website will be moved to goldengrizzlies.com in order to push continuity in brand awareness, according to the release. Along with the website, the athletics twitter handle is also in the process of being changed from @OUGrizzlies to @GoldenGrizzlies.

“We are Oakland and the Golden Grizzlies, not Oakland Grizzlies,” Konya said.

The OU community is meeting the changes being implemented in the athletic department with open arms. Luke Fleer, the regional director of development at Oakland University, is very happy with new campaign.

“The new campaign is great because it works on collaboration and getting everyone to wear the same thing and say the same thing,” Fleer said.

Fleer also noted the emphasis that the new athletic director has placed on communication and openness.

“The community input, voting online for the new basketball court, Konya is bringing a lot of excitement to the university,” Fleer said.

Stefen Welch, a former student at OU and currently the director of corporate philanthropy at Wayne State, says he’s excited about the possibilities that Konya brings.

“This is an awesome opportunity for Oakland University,” Welch said. “Konya’s new court is going to add attendance and increase the campus appeal.”

Both Fleer and Welch suggested that the new floor of the O’rena feature OU men’s basketball head coach Greg Kampe’s name.

“He deserves it,” Fleer said.