How do you change an identity that has stood for 20 years? What is the process to replace the only logo the team or its fans have ever known? How do you rebrand the Columbus Crew? The answers to those questions was "very deliberately and carefully." The team considered all their options as they looked to update what the Crew stood for and decided to keep it in house with ownership, marketing, and design considering and reconsidering what to do.
How do you celebrate such an achievement? You throw a big party with a band and plenty of special guests. You bring in the commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber to stress how important this is to the team and the league. You have mayor Mike Coleman act as the bridge between the city and the team. The whole team is on hand of course, and on October 8th, 2014, the Crew did just that in becoming Crew SC.
Then you let the work speak for itself.
It's hard to "nail it". There are so many ways to mess this up, to ruin the team's identity, and create something that doesn't connect. The design team could have made a logo that looked too slick and polished. They could have created a design that played it safe and was bland, but the cheer of the assembled crowd crushed any of those concerns.
The new logo was an instant classic with referential touches. It's certainly not slick, but it avoided being safe and bland. It's hard to think of a more perfect way to change the team's image.
The party was the precise way to celebrate that achievement. An instant winner with the crowd, the new badge filled LC Pavilion as fans and the team were able to celebrate a new brand, improvements off the field, and most importantly, a little more optimism on the field.
The malaise that struck the team since the championship team heyday was slowly washed away. There was a vibrancy to this team they had lacked. The best part, the #NewCrew reveal party appears to be just the beginning.
Can a rebrand revive the fortunes of a team? Not really, but it can be the start of a positive move. With invested ownership, greater ties to the city, and an exciting group of players, the #NewCrew party was the start of the second chapter in Crew SC history. One that's starting pretty well.