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The University of Washington Rebrands the Tyee Club

Feb. 5, 2010

Back To Basics - The Rebranding Of The Tyee Club

Shannon Kelly, Washington's associate athletics director for marketing and strategic programs, understood her biggest challenge when it came to making Tyee Club the direct fundraising arm of the athletics department.

"We had to change the way people thought about it," she said.

In other words, change the perception from an exclusive priority seating program to that of an engaged, savvy and distinctive fundraising unit. The University had to re-establish Washington as a successful brand both to its alumni and in the marketplace.

No longer would the preconceived notions of the Tyee Club being just a donor-seat program hold true. The University's revamping of the Tyee Club into a successful brand is a model for other universities in their fundraising and engagement efforts. As a self-sustaining athletics department, upgrading the image of the Tyee Club was critical to Washington's success as an athletics program.

"Reaffirming our brand to the University of Washington fan base has been highly critical for improving communication to our current membership and opening the doors to future fundraising initiatives," said Roy Shick, Washington's associate AD for advancement.

Some of those enhanced efforts from Washington have included strengthening the Intercollegiate Athletics Brand. The department upgraded not only their anchor page, GoHuskies.com, but also the Tyee Club site, improving season-ticket holders' Web experience. Each received a splashy re-design to increase the department's interaction with donors.

Another branding initiative was an upgraded version of Dawgs Digest, the exclusive magazine for season-ticket holders.

The University also worked to keep former student-athletes involved, primarily with the The Big W club. The Big W scholarship, stewardship and enhancement funds allow former athletes to connect with and support current athletes and the athletics program.

The overall goal was to use the synergy between the development and marketing departments to fuel the new brand identity of the Tyee Club.

"Successful revenue generation is essential to providing a superior student-athlete experience at the University of Washington," Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. "By tying our marketing and fundraising efforts together with a cohesive branding program, we present a consistent image to all constituents and promote a unified image that enhances all revenue generation opportunities."

The results have been such that deans and fellow fundraisers across campus have commented on the success of the new image. The Tyee Club was the first development unit on campus to accept University wide image and branding efforts.

This is not to say the switch has been easy.

"It's truly the external fundraising arm of the department. Coming up with a new brand identity, interactive Web site, stronger publications, we've come a long way in a year," Kelly said. "But we had our work cut out for us."

That hard work has paid off, though, with a branding and fundraising program that looks to bring success for years to come.

You can view the Tyee Club's new website at www.gohuskies.com/tyeeclub.

About Roy Shick: Roy is the associate AD of advancement at the University of Washington where he oversees the external group of fundraisers for the annual and major gift units of the Tyee Club; managing the day-to-day operations of the fundraising focus for athletics.

Prior to his role at Washington, Roy spent the six years in a variety of fundraising capacities at Arizona State. He served two years with the department's annual fund before moving into major gifts.

Upon receiving his undergraduate degree from Western Washington University, where he also played football for the Vikings, Shick earned a master's degree in sports administration from the University Northern Colorado in 2001. He then spent a year as a marketing assistant in the athletics department at Fresno State before moving to Arizona State. You can contact Roy by phone at 206.221.3105 or by e-mail at rshick@uw.edu.  

About Shannon Kelly: Shannon is the associate AD of marketing and strategic programs at the University of Washington. She oversees all marketing and creative development efforts for the athletics department as well as events, game-day promotions and stewardship efforts. She played basketball for the University of Washington from 1992-96, and upon graduation from UW, she played basketball overseas for several years.

Shannon received her master's degree in Sport and Business Administration in 2000 from Seattle Pacific University, and worked on UW's upper campus in marketing for eight years, before returning to athletics in 2009. You can reach Shannon by phone at 206.616.9470 or by e-mail at shannonk@uw.edu.