Oregon State University creates Ideation team

Emma Brown

On Jan 5, the Oregon State Athletic Department announced they would be adding a new  ideation team that acts as an on campus marketing team. They will begin work Jan 29

Zack Lassiter, the deputy athletic director of external operations will head the team and handle the marketing of the athletic department ranging from ticket sales to customer service to promoting the brand of OSU.

However, he felt they could do more to spread a coherent message about Oregon State to the greater public.

“I always thought there was a need for the ability to maximize creativity inside of storytelling because I think that the best storytellers are the ones who live it everyday,” Lassiter said.

What many people do not  understand is the vital importance that branding plays not only within athletic teams, but within schools and clubs as a whole. Jeremy Darlow is a brand marketing professional and author of “Brands win Championships,” a marketing book about the role of branding in athletics.

“Through consistent and frequent messaging, a brand story will begin to stick. If a university constructs an authentic and relevant positioning statement and tells dynamic stories around it, athletes, fans and media will all, subconsciously, carve out a unique space in their minds for that school’s program,” Darlow said.

It was from this concept that the ideation team was created. The ideation team will consist of four main groups, each with their own emphasis on a particular type of marketing such as video, graphics, technology and social media. Each smaller department will be spearheaded by one director, who Russell Houghtaling will be given a position to ensure the ideation team can work in tandem..

Houghtaling, a graduate of Washington State University and northwest native, is familiar with the Corvallis area and Oregon State University.

“Corvallis and Oregon State are hardworking and humble. Because of that nature, people don’t know how great of a place Corvallis is,” Houghtaling said. “I want to keep people engaged and telling stories of the culture at OSU.”

Houghtaling has previously worked with athletic and media departments at Northern Illinois University and the University of Oklahoma and this position seemed like a natural next step in his career. Houghtaling explained that he chose this position because of the opportunity to lead the first team of it’s kind.

“I think we’ve got to be able to (tell our story). Talk about what we do well and differentiate ourselves in the space with other young people with other schools,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter is confident that this venture will lead to great things not only for the OSU community, but for Corvallis as a whole.

“As Oregon State is more successful, Corvallis is more successful,” Lassiter said. “And if we are able to tell our story in ways that more and more people enjoy what we do and talk well about it, it can only help the community that we live in.”

Houghtaling supports the idea that Oregon State University has potential.

“We are going to be for Oregon State and for Corvallis and push the positive things we have there,” Houghtaling said.