Doak to ‘Dena: FSU PR Hits the Road

| Written by: Agata Wlodarczyk

This past Thursday, the Capital Chapter hosted the March luncheon called “Doak to ‘Dena: FSU’s Road to the BCS National Championship” at the FSU Stadium. Moderator Robby Cunningham, Chief Communications Officer for the FSU Alumni Association, led a diverse panel in discussing the behind-the-scenes PR of Florida State’s road to the Championship.

Panelists included Jason Dennard, Assistant Athletics Director/Marketing; Elliott Finebloom, Assistant Athletics Director/ Sports Information Director; Jerry Kutz, Senior Vice President for Special Projects, Seminole Boosters; Ben Zierden, Assistant Athletics Director for Ticket Sales and Operations; and Louise Bradshaw, Web Specialist for the FSU Alumni Association.

The panel helped show the different roles the Athletic Department, Boosters and Alumni Association had throughout the winning season and how things changed moving into the Championship game.

Some key takeaways from the discussion were:

– Plan ahead! Many of the PR mechanisms in place during the season were decided on months ahead of time.

– Be receptive to change. As the season went on and the Championship game became a possibility, there were adjustments that needed to be made to keep up.

– Communication is key. The Boosters had to communicate clearly with their members about tickets for the Championship Game, due to the incredible demand and the last-minute nature of the team’s advancement. Without good communication, a crisis could have developed quickly.

– Get creative. When a high-profile reporter wanted a one-on-one interview with the star quarterback, FSU had to set it up during the regularly scheduled press conference. The interview looked like an exclusive, but it fit into what the team already had in place.

– Follow through on crazy ideas. The Alumni Association’s Doak to ‘Dena Road Trip went from a mere conversation to three people in a car headed for California in a matter of weeks. With the right idea and some thoughtful planning, even the crazy ideas can take shape and turn into engaging campaigns.