Auburn Basketball, Charles Barkley & Creating Buzz

The Auburn University football stadium sits in the middle of campus, the mecca of a small college town. As part of the tradition-rich Southeastern Conference, Auburn takes pride in being a “football school”.

This year, something changed.

The men’s basketball team experienced its first-ever NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance, and suddenly Auburn became a basketball school. We sat down with Breanna Perkins, an Auburn alum and content marketing coordinator, to talk about this paradigm shift and how a vision led to a new level of fan engagement, on our series, Here’s What I Know.


Head Coach Bruce Pearl has been at Auburn since 2014, slowly building a sustainable basketball program not just through recruiting, but by engaging with marketing classes and community and alumni events – fully immersing himself into the university’s culture and weaving Auburn basketball as an important thread within it.

“I can’t think of Auburn Basketball without Bruce Pearl, that is what he has done for me,” Perkins said.

Winning teams and organizations create buzz around success, events and ultimately their vision. This heightened engagement brings in more “fans” and ultimately influencers, leading to increased followers on social media and overall organic brand growth. Auburn was able to add more than 40,000 new followers to the men’s basketball Instagram account during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament alone.

Organizations can utilize their employees and partners to be advocates for their brand, similar to Auburn alumni Tim Cook and Octavia Spencer advocating to their networks on behalf of the University. Social selling platforms like Smarp and Sociabble are strong tools that provide employees with a custom library of content they can easily share out to their followers.  When your own team is engaged in your success, their network becomes a natural extension of your growth and messaging, and ultimately – fans.

Listen to more episodes of Here’s What I Know for the stories, brands and culture behind marketing.