COLLEGE STATION, Texas. -- Kevin Sumlin is big on branding, which means an agricultural school in Texas may be the ideal place for him to coach football.
Oh, OK, not that kind of branding. He is big on putting the logos of Texas A&M and the SEC together every chance he gets. So big that in a one-hour conversation in his office, Sumlin used the word “branding” or “rebranding” eight times. He wants everyone in the state -- especially everyone who is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and runs a 4.6 40 to see that the Aggies are members of the best conference in college football.
Take the windscreens on the fence around the practice field. Sumlin made sure he had new ones before spring football; installation took place on March 30, the day before the first practice. The new windscreens are maroon, and in big white letters they say, “Home of the 12th Man.” They also have that SEC logo.
“You wouldn’t believe what that looked like when we got here,” Sumlin said. “The windscreens around the field were green. It was just a bag around there. Something that simple just dressed up the place like that. It’s branding. It’s messaging.”
And it’s something that media video and photographs will show every time the Aggies practice. That’s not the case with the Bright Football Complex, which may be why its décor is stuck in 2011. Or 2003, when the three-story, $27 million building opened.
High on the wall in the atrium lobby, there still hangs a Big 12 Conference logo. The same logo also still hangs on the wall of Sumlin’s office. It turns out that both are going to be redesigned. In fact, the lobby soon will be expanded to help deal with the crush of recruits in all sports who descend on College Station on a game day.
“The Bright complex is a great building,” Sumlin said. “It’s gotten to where the meeting rooms are, the auditorium, the coaches’ offices, the players’ lounge, the academic [center], it’s great. From a branding standpoint, we just need to make it pop a little bit more for recruiting.”
And as far as Sumlin’s branding is concern, the livestock is safe.