(Varsity Partners are a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
A brand is more than an identity. It also requires a significant amount of time, effort, and knowledge to not only create one, but grow it into something memorable and sustainable. That applies to every aspect of marketing, digital or otherwise.
In this webinar, Tim Rebich, Nick Irwin, and Pearson Cunningham of Varsity Partners and University of Georgia Deputy Athletic Director Josh Brooks join FOS CEO Adam White to discuss the impact of branding on athletics culture, how to better execute brand management and how to build a successful brand through foundational identities and design systems.
Edited highlights appear below:
On the need for a brand identity to be timeless and authentic (4:00):
Brooks: “When you think about brands, you have to think long-term, not just the short term. We have such an iconic logo in the G… Our brand represents a lot when it comes to what Georgia is… and its history. It’s not something that has to be flashy and new. It’s about the longevity of that brand and how does it relate to the state, how does it relate to the city and to the mission of the athletic department and the university. It also has to strike this balance between being cutting edge but also [honoring the] tradition, and we’re a tradition-rich athletic department at the University of Georgia.”
SEE MORE: Inside the Creative Process at UGA
On empowering fans to create shareable content like photos and videos at venues (24:20):
Rebich: “It’s about being able to tell that brand’s story from where it begins. In [UGA’s] case, that’s Sanford Stadium. We took that methodology… and when we work on anything experiential, we take that approach…We strive to understand where those shareable moments are and [allow people to share them] in a non-intrusive way. If you try to force it, it doesn’t feel natural.”
How important is formal market research when it comes to branding and rebranding? (44:24):
Rebich: “When we go through brand analysis and understanding if there is a juncture point of a potential rebrand, we definitely look at key stakeholders. So we talk to coaches, leadership, anybody that has been involved with the brand for X amount of time. They have a familiarity with it. Then from there, whether it is through holding town hall meetings or whatever it may be, having discussions with people who are secondary level and getting their perspective… along with taking a look at what else there is on the market… you take all that together, and you can make an informed, articulate decision on which way the brand needs to go.”
READ MORE: Exploring Visual Rebrands Within Sports
On enforcing brand standards and guidelines (52:15):
Brooks: “You’ve got to be the bad guy a lot of times and be the police with people. But the first thing is when you come up with the word mark and font that you use for ‘Georgia’ and ‘Bulldogs,’ people want to take that font and put it on everything… But you can water it down too much if you use it too much or use it in the wrong way. One of the things we really had to get through to people was that the ‘G’ stands alone. It takes a while and a lot of conversations to get people to understand that.”