Building the EyeBlack Brand Through Media and Strategic Partnerships
Based in Rockville, Md., EyeBlack produces patented, innovative, hardworking sports products that are used worldwide by athletes to boost their on‐field performance, while enabling fans to express their support for a team or specific athlete. EyeBlack is an official licensee of Major League Baseball (MLB), Minor League Baseball (MiLB), Major League Lacrosse (MLL), and has partnerships with many other professional athletes ranging from motorsports to National Football League (NFL) players. Additionally, hundreds of collegiate programs are officially licensed and wear EyeBlack products. Away from the athletic fields, EyeBlack collaborates with a number of sponsors and non‐profit organizations to create customized products to help promote their respective brands.
Maroon PR focused its branding efforts for EyeBlack in four core areas including; media relations, social media, product placement and strategic partner development. The ultimate goal was to position EyeBlack as a growing leader in sports product manufacturing for athletes and fans, but also to expose the product to different influential groups of people.
In addition to announcing and generating media attention for EyeBlack’s new licensing deals, Maroon PR focused on pitching news stories which highlighted the success behind EyeBlack’s innovative business. Soon after working with Maroon PR, news about EyeBlack started to be consistently covered by regional and national business media. Stories and mentions about EyeBlack were spotlighted by key outlets including the SportsBusiness Daily, Wall St. Journal and Forbes.com. Additionally, Maroon PR landed a feature with the Associated Press which was picked up by the biggest sports news websites including Yahoo! Sports, ESPN.com, Fox Sports and SI.com (Sports Illustrated).
Other than traditional media relations, Maroon PR introduced and fostered relationships for EyeBlack with various contacts that led to partnerships. These partnerships provided exposure for the EyeBlack brand in professional/amateur sports, as well as through national philanthropic campaigns. Organizations and institutions Maroon PR introduced EyeBlack to include the Prostate Cancer Foundation, One Love Foundation, National Pro Fastpitch, Ripken Baseball and University of Maryland Athletics. Each of these partnerships provided added exposure for the EyeBlack brand, specifically in Major League Baseball, college and high school athletics, professional softball and youth baseball.
Product placement was also a priority for Maroon PR, whether it was working to establish relationships with creative directors at national magazines, or leading marketing campaigns surrounding MLB Opening Day, Maroon PR assisted EyeBlack with product ideas and distribution plans to get product in the influential people’s hands. These efforts led to some key placements including EyeBlack becaming featured on the cover of ESPN the Magazine, former NFL All-Pro quarterback Boomer Esiason sporting Mets EyeBlack on his popular N.Y. radio show on MLB Opening Day, and Baltimore Ravens’ Super Fan Captain D-Fense wearing “Ball So Hard” product during 2011 NFL Playoff fan rallies.
All together, Maroon PR helped EyeBlack further its efforts in becoming a household name. Through media relations alone, Maroon PR’s efforts for EyeBlack garnered over 351,000,000 media impressions and over $741,000 in publicity value. EyeBlack’s social media platforms grew exponentially, surpassing follow numbers of its industry competitors. Keeping in line with Maroon PR’s tagline, EyeBlack’s business grew and benefited because of the firm’s vast contacts.