Kansas University Athletics have a storied history. The 5-time national champion basketball team was founded by basketball’s inventor James Naismith, and the KU Jayhawk is easily one of sports’ most recognized logos. Safeguarding their hard-won reputation was top priority when KU turned to Meltwater to help inform and strengthen their media outreach.
Given KU’s place within college sports, the athletics department has a head start on most other colleges when it comes to brand awareness. And yet the challenges it faces are familiar to all programs.
Before Meltwater, tracking coverage—and then building momentum—on multiple storylines meant having one employee spend every morning searching for online articles mentioning KU athletics and cutting, pasting, and sorting these into emails. It was a time-consuming task that provided little insight into how to manage media attention and report on the marketing department’s impact.
I was lucky to have that information at my fingertips at my previous job and decided we needed to have that here.Todd Kober Associate Athletics Director/Executive Director of External Branding, University of Kansas Athletics
KU uses the Meltwater Media Intelligence platform to identify topics of interest to readers and feed share-worthy news and story ideas to reporters. The platform’s reporting function allows department administrators to monitor story pickup and spread the word on the Jayhawk program’s PR wins.
While KU is a member of the Big 12 Conference, its focus often centers on a select few. “Even in communications we are competitive,” says Kober, “so we monitor our media placements and hits and benchmark against other members of the league. Meltwater helps us keep our friends close and our enemies even closer, so to speak.”
Successfully managing the sentiment surrounding KU athletics also helps the communications team amplify positive stories. Ultimately, their efforts help build pride among the university’s students, employees, and alumni, and gives athletic recruits extra incentive to sign on.
At the end of the day, we just need to explain to everybody why it's so great to be a Jayhawk.
Monitor and assess media coverage in real-time
Stay on top of the competition
Prove the value of department activities
“Maintaining a national presence is key to us. Meltwater enables us to easily watch over the brand as a whole, so we can stay focused on everything else it takes to develop a winning department.” — Todd Kober, Associate Athletics Director/Executive Director for External Branding, University of Kansas Athletics
“The best way to show what (the communications staff) is doing to the entire administration is to physically provide the earned value of our activities. We create quarterly reports with Meltwater that we share with (the administration), and there’s no doubt about the quantity and quality of the exposure we get.” —Todd Kober, Associate Athletics Director/Executive Director for External Branding, University of Kansas Athletics
“Week in, week out, our staff focuses on the storylines that we want to pitch to reporters. With Meltwater, we can monitor the success rate of the pitches we make, and then refine our approach accordingly.” —Todd Kober, Associate Athletics Director/Executive Director for External Branding, University of Kansas Athletics