Atlantic Sun Debuts New Positioning Statement

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MACON, Ga. (Aug. 23, 2007) - Following a five-month evaluation process, the Atlantic Sun Conference, in conjunction with their marketing partner Rights Marketing Group, LLC, announce a new positioning statement and tag line for the league:  "Building Winners for Life."

The partners worked to clearly distinguish the A-Sun's most valuable assets, position the A-Sun correctly in the marketplace and initiate programs which will maximize the ability to both identify the Atlantic Sun brand and create corporate partnerships in support of the brand.  The new tagline acknowledges that the development of the student-athlete is a building process that embodies academics, athletics and a healthy, well balanced approach to their life.

"The Building Winners for Life statement is way to summarize all that we value in Atlantic Sun athletic competition. The experience of an A-Sun student-athlete should be about building - individual growth, team development, about success - winning in competition and in the classroom and in preparing for success in your life," commented A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "This initiative is part of a branding campaign, but it honestly and accurately represents who we are and what we do; that is an important statement for us to make to all our constituents."

The league's reputation in the academic world continued to grow as 58 percent of all student-athletes posted a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better, a new record high.  Also, for the first time in conference history, every institution reached or bettered the 50% All-Academic success rate for its student-athletes. Additionally, Atlantic Sun teams garnered top-25 rankings as teams, earned All-American honors and competed for national championships. 

"Everyone has heard the commercials about ‘99% of college athletes are going pro in something other than sports' and the new A-Sun tag line runs hand in hand with that statement," Jacksonville pitcher and SAAC President Matt Dobbins said. "To me, ‘Building Winners for Life' means that the characteristics I have been taught in college athletics will always be a part of my life. Ultimately, my college athletic experience can shape me into the person I want to become and teach me the attributes I want to display as a person."

"We are excited about the new direction of our conference.  The new tag line and marketing elements we will be rolling out soon bring enthusiasm for the growth of our conference," stated Jacksonville University Director of Athletics and chair of the A-Sun Marketing Committee Alan Verlander.  "We have an excellent commissioner and staff who have worked hard at making this a first-class conference, and this new tag line gives us focus on what college athletics is all about."

In conceiving the tagline and market position, RMG conducted a survey to affirm the primary assets of membership, to measure their relative value to various constituent groups in the conference and to determine the perception of these assets among these groups.  Feedback was solicited from multiple internal constituents from University Chief Executive Officers to Department of Athletics Administrative staff, to Coaches and Student-Athletes.  Three values rose to the top:

  • Academic integrity of the member institutions.
  • Athletic integrity of the member institutions.
  • High level of sportsmanship.

These key factors show a respect for the student-athlete, for the balance between their education and their athletic competition, and for each other. 

The Atlantic Sun Conference and RMG will undertake the ambitious task of making the tag line and market position resonate with both internal and external constituents.  Towards those efforts, a broad approach that will incorporate both new media and traditional media outlets will begin immediately.

"RMG is privileged to work with such a fine conference staff, member school leadership, coaches and faculty," RMG President John Zarzycki said. "Working to build the Atlantic Sun, from the ground up with the ‘Building Winners for Life' tag provides us a truthful positioning and strong foundation for conference branding.  We look forward to helping craft the future development of the conference brand."

The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship.  Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast.  The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.

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