University of Exeter Sport
Roles & Responsibilities:
Media & Marketing Executive
University of Exeter
When elected as the Media and Marketing Executive at the University of Exeter Student Sport last year, I was tasked with overhauling the content production and marketing strategies. This year, I have taken on a strategic consultant role, overseeing the branding and image that surrounds Student Sport at the University of Exeter.
Chapter 1 covers how I set up a streamlined solution for sports clubs to get access to industry-level media content.
Chapter 2 goes over how I'm currently working to better represent the myriad of athletes on campus that make the University of Exeter who they are today.
All photos and videos taken by Daiki Shinomiya.
How can we streamline access to high-quality content production?
The biggest challenge that I faced was the lack of any sustainable source of media for sports. Despite being one of the best sports universities in the UK, teams at the University of Exeter had no way of getting high-quality photos of their matches unless they were a popular sport, like rugby or netball.
With this in mind, my priority was to set up a system where sports clubs can get access to high-quality media.
I conducted research into other sporting institutions, such as Loughborough Sport and Nottingham University, to set a benchmark of the quality of media sports should, or should not be investing in.
Understanding the athletes
In order to successfully execute a strategy, I conducted interviews with various athletes, ranging from club captains to novice players. This allowed me to better understand their needs, especially in relation to media production.
I discovered that although high-quality media was desirable, it was often not a priority due to a lack of availability. Through this research, I identified that a new streamlined system would enable sports clubs to showcase their achievements. The University of Exeter was not a top sports university for nothing; they just needed some way of promoting their sucesses.
Furthermore, the only sports that received photography were the high-performing sports, such as rugby or netball. However, these only make up a small proportion of all the diverse sports on campus. Sports such as basketball, canoe and water polo were often underrepresented, despite being extremely successful in their own right.
Understanding the creatives
On the other hand, the University of Exeter did not seem to have any students who were actively involved in taking photos of sports. At the time, the Photography Society was largely inactive, with little-to-no engagement with the small photography community on campus.
By talking to a handful of photographers on campus, I discovered that students would be extremely interested in attempting sports photography, but did not have the opportunities and experiences to do so in the past.
This research led me to believe that there was an untapped opportunity to engage a large number of students and produce high-quality media for sports at the same time.
With sports clubs needing media content and creatives looking for opportunities to shoot and hone their skills, it was logical to set up some sort of system that enabled the sports clubs to easily request photographers.
Through my research, I identified that this system needed to have as little friction as possible, making it a simple and streamlined process for clubs to request photos at a moment's notice.
On the flip side, there also needed to be a system to allocate these projects to available photographers. At the same time, he also had to train up photographers so that they were comfortable taking photos at a live event.
I brought together all the interested photographers and other creatives to form the Athletics Union Media Team. The main goal for this group was to enable students to develop their creative skills through real-world projects – namely, sports and events photography.
I organized this group catering towards students of all skill levels, with experienced photographers running training sessions to help teach newer photographers who were interested in learning a new skill.
In essence, this was the start of the first all-round creative community on campus at the University of Exeter, which would eventually become the Student Media Team.
We set up a streamlined system where all sports clubs would need to visit just one link to request any sort of media.
All clubs needed to do was to submit a simple form online, which was easily accessible from all club Facebook groups. Through a Zapier integration, we were able to automatically post each club request onto a private Facebook where photographers were able to express their interest in taking on the project.
We set up an internal spreadsheet to keep track of the projects that members were doing, so that the projects were as equally distributed as possible.
Expanding our horizons
After a successful year of learning about the needs of athletes and creatives alike, I was driven to build upon the foundations I built.
With my newly formed team, we set off to think about the following questions:
How can we build an engaged creative community on campus?
How can we increase the value and reputation of the creative industry at the University of Exeter?
These are questions that we would expand upon with the Student Media Team.
Enabling Student Sport to better represent the students that make them who they are
Over the past year, we recognized that the University of Exeter Student Sport was not engaging nearly as many students as they intended.
Instead of cultivating a healthy and active student community, Student Sport largely focused on the high-performing sports and the top athletes, giving little attention towards other sports and the majority of athletes on campus.
This resulted in a scattered sports experience, with no central identity to unite athletes. This was an issue, as the misrepresented students were the ones who made Student Sport what it is today.
How could we make Student Sport better represent their students?
Working alongside the former Athletics Union President and some members of the Student Sport Staff, I organized and facilitated a rebranding workshop to identify the key user stories of athletes getting involved with sport at the University of Exeter.
This workshop served as a foundation to help guide the branding and experience decisions moving forward. In the workshop, we focused on identifying the ultimate goals for Student Sport and identifying key student profiles.
In the end, we identified four key categories of students, and were able to discover that Student Sport currently only catered towards half of the categories. With this, we are now able to focus our rebranding approach to maximize student reach.
One challenge in this process was the furlough in April due to coronavirus. As a result, the initial rebranding process was put on a hiatus.
With term starting again, I am working with a new team to resume the progress we made before the lockdown and furlough came into effect.
Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Sketch, Zapier, Nikon Z6