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How IOI’s Strategy Helped Produce a Slam Dunk for St. John’s Northwestern Academies At The 2023 NBA Draft

August 3, 2023 | Natalie Barletta

At the 2023 NBA Draft, IOI had a very special relationship with one of the newest members of the Golden State Warriors. Brandin Podziemski is a 2021 graduate of St. John’s Northwestern Academies, one of IOI’s newest clients. Brandin was selected as the overall 19th pick in the first round, and SJNA was not equipped to provide the level of coverage needed surrounding an event of this magnitude. 

Luckily, IOI already had a blueprint for success with SJNA thanks to our experience just a year prior at the 2022 NBA Draft when Keegan Murray, an alum of another IOI client DME Academy, got selected as the No. 4 overall pick.



St. John’s Northwestern wanted to increase brand awareness and drive media engagement all while bringing the attention and recognition a first round pick deserved. SJNA always wanted to reach the local community and national media by promoting the story through various news outlets. Finally, they wanted to leverage Brandin’s time at SJNA by building out long-form pieces that would drive traffic to their website and increase interest in the academies.



The draft was taking place June 22 and we knew we needed a strong clear strategy prior to June 1 in order to accomplish the goals set forth by SJNA.

Despite having been a recent graduate and successful alumnus, SJNA wasn’t connected with Brandin on social media. We began interacting with him and his NCAA program, Santa Clara University, to develop trust and foster the relationship.

We developed a social media content plan outlining the month of June leading up to the NBA Draft. We focused on highlighting Brandin’s impressive statistics, extensive awards, and all his recognitions by utilizing feed posts and stories to drive engagement through polls and open-ended questions.

In order to drive traffic to the SJNA website, we built out a landing page highlighting Brandin and his accomplishments. We also developed multiple long-form blog pieces, which we distributed to both national and local media outlets, in preparation for the draft 

Ahead of draft night, we organized local media and community members to attend a watch party hosted by SJNA. This provided a backdrop for quality coverage from local media and created excitement and buzz around the future of SJNA athletics.

As the draft began, we planned to provide live coverage through social media utilizing the countdown feature, polls, and open-ended questions. We also prepared to post a final long-form blog post added to the link to our social media posts, continuing to drive traffic to the SJNA website.



On draft night, we ramped up our social media with a series of posts and stories and also continued closely monitoring any related content. Once his name was called, we posted content congratulating Brandin and began interacting with his alma mater, Santa Clara University, Brandin himself, and the Golden State Warriors. 

Two local media television crews turned up to the NBA Draft watch party and shared footage of the night on their live broadcasts and social media accounts, which we reposted to the SJNA social media accounts. On the national level, Brandin gave us a boost when he  flashed the lining of his jacket to reveal a St. John’s Northwestern logo and commented on his appreciation of the school live on the ESPN broadcast.

Thanks to our newly developed social media relationship with Brandin, he is now following SJNA on social media and is liking, commenting, and sharing nearly all our posts to his page. With his now nearly 42k followers, this contributed to a huge boost in our numbers. 

In the month of June alone, we saw an increase of Facebook and Instagram reach at 256,432 (increase of 622% month-over-month) and 59,368 (increase of 566% MOM) accounts reached, respectively. We also gained 70 new Instagram followers and garnered 2,466 (increase of 36% MOM) profile visits with content about Brandin being 6 out of the 10 top performing posts for the month.

Overall, the 2023 NBA Draft was a success for not only Brandin and his family, but for St. John’s Northwestern Academies as well. We met and exceeded the goals we had set for the event and are confident we will continue to drive brand awareness, increase web traffic, and see a rise in social media engagement as Brandin undoubtedly shines for the Golden State Warriors. 

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