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https://frntofficesport.com/logo-love-history-milb/

 

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Welcome to the first edition of Logo Love, a series where we dive into the unique world of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) logos and team names.

Jason Klein and Casey White, Partners at Brandiose Studios, have worked for more than 100 professional sports franchises to create branding materials to tell the team’s story to the fans. They sat down with each other to talk about the history of some of the interesting team names in MiLB, their methods for conceptualizing logos, and more.

 

 

 

Edited by dfwabel

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$500k in merch sales over 1 month after a re-brand. an attendance increase of almost 30% in 2 different markets after a re-brand.

 

from a business stand-point, the splash numbers are undeniable. but i agree, i'd love to see more of the long term numbers, their work has been around long enough to evaluate how sustainable it is. its a pretty fascinating approach to design business. ultimately, even if you dont like the aesthetic or the naming, you still have to admit its a win for the bold option; the crazy one that you'd never think would work. 

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3 hours ago, BrandMooreArt said:

from a business stand-point, the splash numbers are undeniable. but i agree, i'd love to see more of the long term numbers, their work has been around long enough to evaluate how sustainable it is. its a pretty fascinating approach to design business. ultimately, even if you dont like the aesthetic or the naming, you still have to admit its a win for the bold option; the crazy one that you'd never think would work. 

 

That's my question as well.  Brandiose seems too often like junk food, with an initial sugar rush of merch sales, but I wonder how long that boost lasts for most teams.

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12 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

That's my question as well.  Brandiose seems too often like junk food, with an initial sugar rush of merch sales, but I wonder how long that boost lasts for most teams.

 

The New Orleans-based posters here (e.g., @B-Rich) would like to point out how it helped crater the former Zephyrs before their departure.

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3 hours ago, BrandMooreArt said:

i'd love to see more of the long term numbers, their work has been around long enough to evaluate how sustainable it is. its a pretty fascinating approach to design business. ultimately, even if you dont like the aesthetic or the naming, you still have to admit its a win for the bold option; the crazy one that you'd never think would work. 

Honest question for you: given the ebb and flow of design in general, what's your take on how long you think the gimmick name/concept in the minors will last? 

 

To me, at some point, the well is going to run dry for Brandiose as we'll be over-saturated with nonsensical food-related team names; multiple identities (which to me, dilute the actual identity) and ridiculously over-the-top gimmicks. 

 

I get that minor league baseball is supposed to be fun, but you can have fun without the multitude of 1980's WWF/WWE cartoon gimmicks. 

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One off branding (for a few games) are cool. But your entire identity? It feels like they could just up and change it every 1-3 years when sales stumble. What happens in 3 years when the team changes and you buy a new hat or shirt. And then again in three years. I think at some point, you stop buying the new crap. Established brands have solid sales year over year. The one trick ponies will need a sales boost every 1-3 years. That’s not sustainable. May Brandiose rot in hell. They’ve ruined a good thing. 

 

Then again, I know some non baseball fans who love the copa designs. They own more of those than the actual team gear that’s been around decades. 

 

Gimmicks are in right now. Some teams can’t rely on changing their name ever 2 years though. 

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1 hour ago, MattMill said:

One off branding (for a few games) are cool. But your entire identity? It feels like they could just up and change it every 1-3 years when sales stumble. What happens in 3 years when the team changes and you buy a new hat or shirt. And then again in three years. I think at some point, you stop buying the new crap. Established brands have solid sales year over year. The one trick ponies will need a sales boost every 1-3 years. That’s not sustainable. May Brandiose rot in hell. They’ve ruined a good thing. 

 

Then again, I know some non baseball fans who love the copa designs. They own more of those than the actual team gear that’s been around decades. 

 

Gimmicks are in right now. Some teams can’t rely on changing their name ever 2 years though. 

 

I wouldn't go as far as saying may they "rot in hell," but I agree with your sentiment that permanent identities are better for sustainable branding in the local community. When I buy merchandise, I don't want it to be outdated in a handful of years. It's one thing for a logo update or whatever because then I just have "retro" apparel. But if the team identity has completely changed my old stuff doesn't make sense at the ballpark anymore.

1 hour ago, SFGiants58 said:

 

The New Orleans-based posters here (e.g., @B-Rich) would like to point out how it helped crater the former Zephyrs before their departure.


I have no ties to New Orleans, but I loved the Zephyrs nickname. One of my favorites in MiLB. It was unique and sounded classic. Baby Cakes is honestly kinda creepy.

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1 hour ago, Atomic said:

Honest question for you: given the ebb and flow of design in general, what's your take on how long you think the gimmick name/concept in the minors will last? 

 

To me, at some point, the well is going to run dry for Brandiose as we'll be over-saturated with nonsensical food-related team names; multiple identities (which to me, dilute the actual identity) and ridiculously over-the-top gimmicks. 

 

I get that minor league baseball is supposed to be fun, but you can have fun without the multitude of 1980's WWF/WWE cartoon gimmicks. 

 

even though this approach is not my thing, i dont believe its something that will tire out soon. the look/aesthetic will certainly, but they're working with a set of principles that drives the branding. the elevator pitch could be "local stories told in the most ridiculous way. and theres a splash of Americana" so i don't believe the well runs dry because their whole thing is about finding something unique and really close to the market the team is in, then giving it that under-dog, middle class personality. the Jumbo Shrimp because Jacksonville is "a little big city" or the Trash Pandas as the low brow animal aiming for the moon, and so on. underneath the trendy, gimmicky name and swinging celery sticks is a really great personal story that is connecting with people. maybe there's a part that feels humorous and safe about it that brings families out to the games and they'd rather cheer for a rubber duck than a MLB knockoff??

 

i think even if the style and naming approach matures over time, the branding philosophy still stands. which is really the key for any designer/studio. yes, they currently have an extremely recognizable style/aesthetic, but they have a stronger ethos.

 

idk, its a difficult thing to not gravitate to what they're doing, but then how do you even argue against the success?

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I hope "tell our story" as marketing jargon goes out of style even sooner than Brandiose does.

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26 minutes ago, BrandMooreArt said:

 

even though this approach is not my thing, i dont believe its something that will tire out soon. the look/aesthetic will certainly, but they're working with a set of principles that drives the branding. the elevator pitch could be "local stories told in the most ridiculous way. and theres a splash of Americana" so i don't believe the well runs dry because their whole thing is about finding something unique and really close to the market the team is in, then giving it that under-dog, middle class personality. the Jumbo Shrimp because Jacksonville is "a little big city" or the Trash Pandas as the low brow animal aiming for the moon, and so on. underneath the trendy, gimmicky name and swinging celery sticks is a really great personal story that is connecting with people. maybe there's a part that feels humorous and safe about it that brings families out to the games and they'd rather cheer for a rubber duck than a MLB knockoff??

 

i think even if the style and naming approach matures over time, the branding philosophy still stands. which is really the key for any designer/studio. yes, they currently have an extremely recognizable style/aesthetic, but they have a stronger ethos.

 

idk, its a difficult thing to not gravitate to what they're doing, but then how do you even argue against the success?

 

I guess this is when I'm thankful the St. Louis Cardinals actually own the Springfield Cardinals so that the AA team doesn't become the "Springfield Cashew Chickens" overnight.

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26 minutes ago, BrandMooreArt said:

 

even though this approach is not my thing, i dont believe its something that will tire out soon. the look/aesthetic will certainly, but they're working with a set of principles that drives the branding. the elevator pitch could be "local stories told in the most ridiculous way. and theres a splash of Americana" so i don't believe the well runs dry because their whole thing is about finding something unique and really close to the market the team is in, then giving it that under-dog, middle class personality. the Jumbo Shrimp because Jacksonville is "a little big city" or the Trash Pandas as the low brow animal aiming for the moon, and so on. underneath the trendy, gimmicky name and swinging celery sticks is a really great personal story that is connecting with people. maybe there's a part that feels humorous and safe about it that brings families out to the games and they'd rather cheer for a rubber duck than a MLB knockoff??

 

i think even if the style and naming approach matures over time, the branding philosophy still stands. which is really the key for any designer/studio. yes, they currently have an extremely recognizable style/aesthetic, but they have a stronger ethos.

 

idk, its a difficult thing to not gravitate to what they're doing, but then how do you even argue against the success?

The branding portion isn't what I was referring to. If anything, I give them credit for the current branding methodology which I see from top to bottom across an organization. To me, that will never go out of style. 

 

I was specifically gauging your insight as to when you felt the gimmicked names would fall out of style. Jacksonville is a good example of this: I get the whole Jumbo Shrimp connection, but at the same time, the Suns brand had grown with the community for 30+ years. I could understand if it was a relocated or brand new ball club, but some of these names have roots already set in the community and an update/refresh would have done the same impact as a swinging (insert mascot here). 

 

And is it really success? Initially, yes. But like you referenced in your first post, I'd love to see the financials 2 or 3 years after the branding launch. 

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1 minute ago, Atomic said:

The branding portion isn't what I was referring to. If anything, I give them credit for the current branding methodology which I see from top to bottom across an organization. To me, that will never go out of style. 

 

I was specifically gauging your insight as to when you felt the gimmicked names would fall out of style. Jacksonville is a good example of this: I get the whole Jumbo Shrimp connection, but at the same time, the Suns brand had grown with the community for 30+ years. I could understand if it was a relocated or brand new ball club, but some of these names have roots already set in the community and an update/refresh would have done the same impact as a swinging (insert mascot here). 

 

And is it really success? Initially, yes. But like you referenced in your first post, I'd love to see the financials 2 or 3 years after the branding launch. 

 

ahh, well... as i ended the previous post, there is conflict there. im not a fan of it to begin with, but who am i to argue against $500K in merch sales in 1 month? i guess, if its not good branding, its at least great marketing. and theres never more attention and media coverage for these teams than when they release a new, outrageous identity. the "splash factor" is vital and that drives those initial sales

 

i think what could benefit Brandiose (and their clients) is a long term marketing strategy—using the short term success to invest in the long term. heres an example: theres a small donut shop in Miami called the Salty Donut. and they make great donuts. but one of their owners once said "our marketing strategy is about doing 2-3 things a year that move the needle". i think with the MiLB teams, the identity design is just 1 thing that moves the needle and thats about all they do. and playing better baseball isnt really an option. so whats left is a need to recapture people attention, recapture headlines, and keep the interest in the team going. like, what if one of these teams bought the first 100 cups of coffee at a local coffee shop and they made custom paper cups with their branding on it? and the day was National Jumbo Shrimp Day or whatever? and yea, the Springfield Cardinals can do this too, but i think no matter the branding or team name, you just have to find ways of staying noticed

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See, my local Quakes do the usual theme night, but other than the Copa uniforms, they've primarily stayed the same for almost 20 years. I loved the Brandiose update to the team back in 2001 and it's been a great look ever since (at least once they nailed down the dodger-esque uniforms). The marketing strategy here is essentially the Dodgers of the future start here and it's cool to see those kids work their way up to the main roster. 

 

While "playing better baseball" may not be an option, attendance is solid knowing that in less than 3 years you can see one of these guys hit the pros (plus winning the Cal League title twice out of the past 4 years helps). Benefits of a good farm system I guess...

 

I'm not sure national notoriety is a good thing in some cases. I mean, I'm happy with my truly local team versus getting nationally ridiculed for being a 'Baby Cake'. 

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3 hours ago, Atomic said:

I'm not sure national notoriety is a good thing in some cases. I mean, I'm happy with my truly local team versus getting nationally ridiculed for being a 'Baby Cake'. 

 

yea, if you're trying to hit a marketing home run every at bat, you'll go down swinging from time to time

 

 

 

i promise i'll never make an analogy that awful again :P

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Minor league teams don't have consistent rosters to market around or, in many cases, even consistent parent clubs. Brandiose has the luxury of working with teams whose brands are secondary to the simple concept of cheap, local, family-friendly entertainment In fact, its right in the AP article: "We're not in the baseball business. We're in the circus business."

 

Even one of the most consistently-branded Triple-A teams on the map - the Buffalo Bisons - one of their lone full houses of the year is "Star Wars Night," where baseball plays a distant second fiddle. I've always had an ethical dilemma with marketing towards children to ultimately target their parents' money, but it certainly works.

 

The cartoonish Brandiose style accentuates a family-friendly product perfectly, but creating long-term brands that sustain the evolution of trends is probably both unlikely and unnecessary.  If need be, I think all these teams can simply revert back to their old identities and contort some tradition-centric marketing around it all. Some of these teams might just continue the trend and repeatedly refresh their merch stands revamp their identities.

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6 hours ago, C-Squared said:

 If need be, I think all these teams can simply revert back to their old identities and contort some tradition-centric marketing around it all. Some of these teams might just continue the trend and repeatedly refresh their merch stands revamp their identities.

I think the better question is how can a team make a community connection if they're consistently trying to find an identity? To me, there's no point of investing in the local team if that local team isn't the local team next season or even next week. Regardless of the affiliation or who is suited up in the uniform, I know the Quakes are the Quakes and that brand has been in Rancho Cucamonga for 26 seasons (18 with the current logo). I think in most cases, if a team has been there a while, you can still make updates and still incorporate the family-friendly element. 

 

Aside from that, there's nothing wrong with "theme nights" and one-off jerseys. Yes, its silly and sometimes fun, but you still know it's the same team under the Star Wars or Spongebob or whatever jersey they're wearing. I can't say that when some Brandiosed team is wearing their primaries one night, foodie jersey another and then 3 different "what-ifs" over the weekend. 

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7 hours ago, C-Squared said:

Minor league teams don't have consistent rosters to market around or, in many cases, even consistent parent clubs. Brandiose has the luxury of working with teams whose brands are secondary to the simple concept of cheap, local, family-friendly entertainment In fact, its right in the AP article: "We're not in the baseball business. We're in the circus business."

 

Even one of the most consistently-branded Triple-A teams on the map - the Buffalo Bisons - one of their lone full houses of the year is "Star Wars Night," where baseball plays a distant second fiddle. I've always had an ethical dilemma with marketing towards children to ultimately target their parents' money, but it certainly works.

 

The cartoonish Brandiose style accentuates a family-friendly product perfectly, but creating long-term brands that sustain the evolution of trends is probably both unlikely and unnecessary.  If need be, I think all these teams can simply revert back to their old identities and contort some tradition-centric marketing around it all. Some of these teams might just continue the trend and repeatedly refresh their merch stands revamp their identities.

 

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Or, more accurately, the truth depends on the team. For many minor league teams the core appeal is exactly what you said - cheap, local, family-friendly entertainment. This is especially true when the minor league team's market doesn't have an inherent interest in the parent club's success or players. For example, people in Fresno, CA, aren't inherently Nationals fans and people in Oklahoma City aren't really LA Dodgers fans. Sure, locals may end up rooting for specific players they saw at home once they get to the bigs, but Oklahoma City residents are likely still rooting against the Dodgers when they visit Busch Stadium. In the case of OKC, a Brandiose identity (or just sticking with the previous identity) would probably resonate more with the locals than the name of the parent club - especially as you noted, those parent clubs change.

But when it comes to the Syracuse Mets, Iowa Cubs, and (my go to) the Springfield Cardinals, those brands mean something to the local fans. And I don't just means that those local fans are fans of the parent club and therefore like the brand already. I mean that people show up to watch the players that are the future of the team they already love. I'm sure every MiLB team markets "the stars of tomorrow" schtick, but why care about the stars of somebody else's team's tomorrow? So for those teams, the closer they can identify with the major league team's brand the better. THAT is how they stand out. People love the Springfield Cardinals BECAUSE they're the Springfield Cardinals, not just because they're a local AA team that has $1 brat nights (although, admittedly, I love $1 brat nights).

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