Monday, November 26, 2012

The Crew Brand

Almost positive this is a topic that is going to get more and more attention as the weeks and months go by, so touching on it for a minute.

Outside of what the word "massive" means and how the club plans on usurping it, there seems to be two separate arguments stemming from a Brand Survey the Columbus Crew asked fans to fill out. It was first sent out to fans of whom they had email addresses for. It was later posted on their site. You can find it here, Black and Gold Brand Survey.

The Two Arguments:

1st is about the logo itself. Even though I'm very far from my BA in Graphic Design (and Fine Art!), I know the thing is dated. I also asked a couple of friends who design for a living (one in Raleigh, NC another in LA) and whose opinion I trust more than my own what they thought, they agreed.

2nd argument is about what the logo means. What it stands for. These days I'm closer to what symbols mean more than how they look. The Crew logo has come to actually mean something in a way that some other pro sports in the US take for granted. In a lot of ways the Crew logo is the brand.

I'm sure a brand refresh would generate some interest and sell a few more tickets (I'm thinking Miami Marlins) but I believe it comes at cost greater than the gain. I'm having a hard time coming up with a total brand refresh that has been 100% worth it. Narrowing down the 'refresh' list to teams not moving out of town and it gets even harder to find a good example.

I've written about the "Crew Brand" a few times over the past couple years.


"The game of soccer was born behind places like Columbus Steel Castings and in towns like Newcastle Upon Tyne. The "Through these gates..." like sign is not uncommon around union halls and other mfg facilities around town. "America's hardest working team" comes naturally to this part of the country."


"I work, and have been working, in manufacturing here in Columbus for over six years. For me? Reaffirmation sometimes shows itself in the form of being able to share a moment talking Crew soccer with someone who physically sweats, sneezes, and coughs up black soot. I doubt many who are casting stones at the Crew have met someone like that.

Maybe there are folks out there that have never met someone who gets a three dollar pay increase for merely not getting maimed or even dying in the first couple months at the local foundry. That same someone who might only know of the Crew through their team slogan, "Hardest working team in America." "

Josh Williams (talent+romanticism)

"The future growth of this sport in this area is not in the teenagers filling stands on Saturday nights right now, but it is those same teenagers 20 years from now who are Jack swigging, pot smoking - proud - Iron Workers Union - hellraisers filling the stands and taking their kids out to the game."

Outsiders also tend to view the club as "hardworking, underdog" but think the logo sucks. I realize it's not for everyone but I enjoy this view on the Columbus Crew. I think it actually means something in that it actually represents an ethic and not just an animal, mythical being or a natural disaster.

If the Crew organization doesn't like that ethic or doesn't think it represents the folks around town then they need to step out of their office, drive down to Obetz, Ohio where their training facility is and walk into any one of the literally dozens of warehouses surrounding it. I actually work in one of them, right down near Rickenbacker Airport.

They can come on down and take a look around. I only ask a couple things that might sound a bit off to them but familiar to over half the City of Columbus: No loose clothing, hair can't drop below their shoulders. Flat soled shoes and long pants are recommended. I'll provide the safety glasses, a mask for dust producing areas and coating department... and, if necessary, a hardhat.


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