Universal Laws of New-Age Student Sections

Last week I was watching 4 college basketball games at the same time to study student sections.

Here is what I realized: there are universal laws and proven systems for student sections. The best student sections understand and implement them, the rest don’t.

So I wanted to share these universal laws and proven systems.

But first, let me remind you BUILDING A GREAT STUDENT SECTION TAKES TIME. Overnight success is a myth. It’s a lie. A scam. Great things are built with focused effort over time.

I’ve told this story many times but one time in the early stages of building the Havocs we planned for 500 kids and 75 showed up! Talk about brutal. But we kept working towards our student section goals, and never quit. Maybe you’re frustrated with your results from your home opener. Or maybe fewer students showed up than expected.

Or maybe you’re more like San Diego State. I just started working with them because they are not satisfied with the current status of The Show (their student section), and they know it can get back to being one of the best (because it was insane a few years ago). So maybe your student section used to be insane, or maybe you believe it can be better.

You’re not alone!

Here are the Universal Laws and Proven Systems:

1. Top 1% student leadership reigns

The first universal law: Top 1% student leadership.

By now you hopefully understand the vital importance of top 1% student leadership for your student section.

A student section leadership position is a tremendous opportunity. It’s more than just a marketing internship. It’s more than just a leadership position to put on a resume. It’s an opportunity to develop something great, transform campus culture and leave a legacy on your campus.

How do I know this is a universal law? Go research the top student sections and you will find a robust student leadership infrastructure.

2. In-game systems and communication work

The second universal law: In-game systems & communication.

Top student sections have in-game systems. There is evident collaboration between marketing, athletics, student leaders, cheer team, dance team, band, game operations. Everyone knows exactly what’s going on. The result? An overwhelming unified body cheering or chanting in unison making a huge impact on the game.

It is magical.

Systems, collaboration, communication.

3. Brand affinity influences more than marketing

The third universal law: Brand > marketing.

I might receive some heat from this but I’ve found it to be true from experience and observation.

Student section brand affinity is more important and more influential than any marketing technique.

If a student has a strong affinity with the student section brand, marketing comes easy. Students already know when the games are, what to say, what to do.

If there is not a strong brand affinity on campus, marketing is going to feel overwhelming and the results will be frustrating.

A strong student section brand empowers students to not only come to games, but to participate, paint their faces and lose their voices.

I’m not sure I have seen a student email with information like, “Basketball game tonight at 7pm” have that type of power.

I found this description of brand affinity online and added how it applies to student sections.

“Brand affinity is the most enduring and valuable level of customer (STUDENT) relationship and is based on the mutual belief that the customer (STUDENT) and the company (STUDENT SECTION) share common values. It's the highest, most durable kind of customer (STUDENT) loyalty, one that breeds unshakable trust in the relationship.”

If you can build strong brand affinity between the student section and students, you’ll be well on your way.

4. Students represent culture

The fourth universal law: Culture is made of students.

Many times schools are frustrated with their campus culture. But what is culture? Culture is the summation of beliefs, values, behaviors, and emotions of students.

Do you have a culture of standing up, painting faces and yelling? Look at your student section and see if students are doing that.

Do you have a culture of sitting down, sitting with groups and scrolling instagram? Look at your students and see if they’re doing that.

Whatever they’re doing is the product of your culture.

How do you influence culture? Influence students

How do you influence students? Apply the first three universal laws. 

  • Top 1% student leadership (peer to peer connection)

  • In-game systems & communication (leading and teaching students what to do)

  • Brand affinity (attach student emotions)

Boom. Changed culture.

These universal laws are exactly what I help clients deeply understand and execute. 

If you are curious about what I do, I explain how I help schools implement these universal laws and proven systems in this free case study video.

Biggest Fan Consulting Case Study

Or, if you are ready to start and take action now, just schedule a strategy session directly to my calendar using the link . After I learn about your current situation, I will explain exactly how to implement these steps.

Schedule your strategy session

To your success!

-- Brandon