TEAM BRAND IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
There are numerous reasons for sports teams to undergo a brand update. For the Erie SeaWolves, the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, one of them was that their existing logo was, as team President Greg Coleman delicately put it, “not particularly well-rendered.”
For Coleman, who inherited that logo artwork when he took over stewardship of the club in 2011, there was another issue, and this time he pulled no punches.
“Frankly, it scared women and children.”
Perhaps the only college football player turned professional baseball front office executive to have ever had a subscription to a graphic design publication, Coleman is well aware of the lost opportunities that result from a subpar brand identity, not to mention one that alienates core parts of one’s fan demographic.
Having worked with Studio Simon on numerous projects during his previous tenures with the Modesto A’s, Golden Baseball League and Trenton Thunder, he also knew where to find a branding partner committed to understanding his goals and achieving his vision. “Studio Simon is going to ask enough questions,” explains Coleman.
Those questions were asked and answered, and a course was set that led to a comprehensive brand identity system revolving around a new wolf that was born directly out of the club’s objective of appealing to a broader audience than that of its predecessor.
Around this playful rogue, additional assets that marry buccaneering and baseball were created, along with a custom letter and number font for usage by the team on their uniform set and beyond.
And the branding journey didn’t end there. In the years following the introduction of this new identity, the SeaWolves and Studio Simon have continued to build on what they had created together. “Doing so allows us to adapt and continue to evolve the brand,” Coleman notes. Out of this enduring, symbiotic relationship have come commemorative logos, alternate identities, signage and other brand extensions that have given the club additional tools in their branding toolbox, with the further benefit of what Coleman describes as “consistency of messaging.”
Alternate identity elements were developed around the
“Howlers” moniker the local press uses as a team nickname.
A “SnowWolves” alternate identity was developed to celebrate, as a point of pride, the community’s resilience in weathering a long winter of record snowfall during the 2017-18 offseason.
In minor league baseball, front office staffers need to wear a lot of hats.
In Erie, the same goes for the wolf that is the focal point of the team identity.
The value of a crafted, cohesive brand identity that resonates with your fans cannot be measured solely in dollars, but baseball is a business, and the bottom line will always be an important consideration when evaluating success. So what does Greg Coleman say about how are things working out in that regard for the Erie SeaWolves?
We have essentially doubled
our annual merchandise sales.