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Branding : quelles leçons peut-on tirer du monde du sport?

Branding: What can we learn from sports?

February 7, 2017By Antoine Prince

Sports enthusiasts are really passionate about their favourite teams. Often emotion triumphs over reason when it comes to change in their beloved clubs. Because of this, many teams are rather reluctant when it comes to rebranding. However, sometimes change is necessary to refresh the brand or simply because the team is relocating. In any case, when designing team branding, it is as important to take its past history into consideration as its future.

Laval Rocket (hockey)

[img]rocket.jpg|700|left|false|Le Rocket de Laval (hockey)|[/img]

The most recent example is the Laval Rocket, AHL affiliate club of the Montreal Canadiens. The team branding is an ironic wink to Maurice "Rocket" Richard who inspired the team's name. Since the logo was unveiled on January 31, 2017, fans were quick to show their disappointment. They found the branding too simple and that it did not reflect enough of the team's personality. However, from a design perspective, I think that it's well done! The logo, though rather simple and inspired by the past, fits well with the modern touch of player uniforms. By accepting this project, the LG2 team took on the challenge of blending the team's past, present and future.

Juventus FC (soccer)

[img]juvantus.jpg|700|left|false|Le Juventus FC (soccer)|[/img]

Juventus has been one of the best teams in its league for a very long time. When the team decided to review branding, potentially for marketing reasons, team supporters did not appreciate it at all. The former logo, tinged with the team's long and historical legacy, held strong meaning for fans.

As the sports blogger Ennio Longo wrote in this article, it is no longer a logo, but a brand. Team identity is no longer defined by 11 players on the field, but rather as a team brand that will inspire all types of products, promotions and services. According to Longo, Juventus crossed a major milestone for the future as it is now supported by a strong identity that can be boldly compared to major brands like Nike and Adidas. Though the club's history has been slightly ignored, the new branding focuses on the team's future. In my opinion, the team made a good move to ensure brand longevity and to acquire the tools needed to refresh its graphic image in communications.

Los Angeles Chargers (football)

[img]chargers.jpg|700|left|false|Les Chargers de Los Angeles (football)|[/img]

The Chargers' logo got a lot of people talking over the last weeks, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. During the announcement of the team moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, a new logo was introduced, including the letters "LA" and a lighting bolt. This version was quickly abandoned after being put to shame by fans, the media and even other sports teams.

[img]love-story.jpeg|500|center|false|Les Chargers de Los Angeles|[/img]
[img]love-dod-ligh.jpg|500|center|false|Les Chargers de Los Angeles|[/img]

They blamed it for being too simple and inspired by the Tampa Bay Lightning's logo and by the Los Angeles Dodgers' logo, also using the letters "LA". The team has listened to its supporters and presented new options respecting fans' suggestions to avoid making the same mistake twice. In the end, the team decided to keep the team logo as it was prior to the move and change only the city name. The team could have avoided the whole situation by doing more extensive research and making a little more effort in the design of their new logo.

Designing a logo: avoid slip-ups

Designing a logo is a rather complex process. When we add the opinion of fans, as in the sports sector, there is an added element of instability that adds emphasis to even the smallest defect or potential mistake.

For a rebranding project, sports can inspire you: You need to know the business well and gather inspiration from its past to propel it towards the future. It is also important to consider the people who will be regularly exposed to the brand, both employees and consumers.

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