Spending Time in Mobile

It started as we were checking in to the hotel and it continued every place we went. Some mention or acknowledgement of Arkansas State because I was wearing a Red Wolf shirt took place all over Mobile. Downtown looks different without all the ASU fans but they remember us.

As a fan, without question walking the streets of a city hours away from your home state and having your favorite team's logo recognized and spurring people to respond is fun. Getting a wolf hand sign and a howl from a shucker at Wintzell's was blast.

Arkansas State's two trips to the GoDaddy Bowl have created a strong brand awareness in Mobile. Just playing here was going to help but what really built that identity were the thousands of fans who wore scarlet and black every place they went. The stereotypical Red Wolf according to the people I spoke to in Mobile:
- Wears the red and black and howls a lot.
- Outgoing and friendly.
- Respectful of other fans.
- Treat wait staff well, and generally known as handing out big tips.

This brand awareness is vital to the business of Arkansas State.

For Bryan Harsin, John Brady, Brian Boyer, Tommy Raffo and the rest of the Red Wolf coaches, there is now a region outside our established footprint where they can approach a high school coach or a prospective student-athlete and the name Arkansas State has some meaning. One phase of out-of-state recruiting is already taken care of, recognizing the name.

Terry Mohajir speaks often of building Arkansas State into a bigger brand. That is what has been done in this one corner of Alabama and has to be repeated across the country with big turnouts at other bowl games and winning games that build the brand.

Outside our immediate region improving our brand may not result in big sales of merchandise or a big flow of new students but it will mean more people tuning in to watch Arkansas State. Whether it is because they have some sort of affinity for ASU now or we are at least someone they've heard of as the flip among games. We are in a phase where people viewing TV has a lot to do with where your program slots in the world.

I was just tagging along for this convention in Mobile but met many people from across the south. Auburn fans were rather chatty talking about the "Gus Bus" and "In Gus we Trust" I offered to send them plenty of merchandise with those slogans. One Auburn fan saw my shirt and said "Thanks for the coach." I answered "That's what Ole Miss said."

We still have a long way to go to reach our goals but we are so much closer than we were in July of 2011.