Columbus Crew Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons was instrumental in saving The Crew. He’s the kind of guy who holds the door for you’re leaving Macy’s at the same time. And then he’ll keep holding it for the lazy tailgaters who rush in behind you. And he’ll do it with a smile, and then go pick up trash that he sees on the ground on the way to his car. And he wears the hell out of a suit.
Last Saturday morning, I was surprised by a quote from Lyons in Columbus Crew beat writer Jacob Myers’ article in The Dispatch about The Crew’s plans to attract more fans to Lower.com Field. Included towards the end was a question from Myers about the new logo, which was released and then updated in mid-May. Speaking about fans’ current perception of it, Lyons said, “We understand there’s a certain core fanbase that’s still getting used to the new look, the new identity, but by and large I think it’s being embraced. People are starting to look at it very differently and connecting with it.”
Sometimes, people at his level in organizations aren’t told the ugly truths. I have no insights into the inner workings of the Crew, but this quote made me curious. Are folks really taking to the “C” logo? I have not noticed much acceptance of it in my part of the Crewniverse, but maybe other folks are starting to enjoy it. So I threw together a quick five-question survey, posted it to Twitter and asked folks to retweet and share it. Then came the firehose blast.
A fast start, how I built it, what I wanted to learn
Results of my survey came in so fast that I had to shut it down and recreate it in a more thoughtful and scalable way. I did that, and then re-shared it to Twitter and to TheMassive subreddit.
It has been 6 months since #Crew96 rolled out the new "C" logo (and then quickly adjusted it). What do you think of it now? Please see this quick survey, linked below. Feel free to RT/share.https://t.co/NujKwUpqwN pic.twitter.com/IfhMJ4en8Q— Flordecke (@Flordecke) November 6, 2021
Whatever the results were going to say, I sensed this was still a hot topic with fans. There were 1,031 respondents who completed the survey within the first 33 hours; I shut that one down by Sunday evening.
I hoped to learn a few things with the survey:
- How do Crew fans feel about the new logo six months after its release? Had their opinions changed after seeing it integrated into the new stadium and the team’s digital presence? Were they feeling more connected to it?
- How does the new logo stack up to the previous two in team history, according to fans?
- How did fans feel about buying gear with the new logo? What are their plans for buying branded apparel in 2022?
Summary of respondents
Here’s a quick profile of who took the survey.
- There was a pretty even split of season ticket members and non-season ticket members. Fifty-four percent had either full or partial season ticket packages, and 46 percent did not.
- There was also a variety of Crew fan tenures, with the majority (52 percent) having been a fan since 2007 or prior. Another 30 percent became fans between 2008–2014 and 16 percent started following the team between 2015–2020. Two percent either started this year or don’t consider themselves fans.
The majority of respondents, 53 percent, indicated that their opinion of the logo didn’t change over the past six months. Twenty-six percent like it more than they initially did, and 21 percent said they liked it less.
With this, one could argue that, since May, five percent more fans have moved towards appreciating the Crew’s new logo than away from it.
What about that feeling of connectedness that Lyons mentioned? In this group of over 1,000 Crew fans, there was no indication that they generally felt an affinity to the new logo. Sixty percent feel “completely disconnected,” while another 25 percent are “somewhat disconnected” from the logo. It could be that people are moving towards feeling more connected, but I don’t have May data to compare. The current state is that 85 percent of this group feels disconnected from the Crew’s primary branding image.
I also wondered if the new logo has had an influence on fans’ Crew gear purchases. I asked two questions: Have you purchased any new gear with the logo yet and where do you plan to shop for Crew gear in 2022?
The results were again clear that the logo is not being embraced. Eighty-four percent reported that they had not yet purchased anything with the new logo, and 74 percent do not plan on buying gear with the new logo in 2022.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to ask about all three of the logos. I asked respondents to rate the original logo, the circle logo and the new one on the following gut-feel scale: Hate it, Dislike it, Neutral, Like it, Love it.
The response to the circle logo was undeniable. This logo, debuted during the term of former team investor/operator and Save The Crew adversary Anthony Precourt, is dearly loved. The original crest is also well-liked, while feeling around the new logo are mostly split between hate, simple dislike or neutrality.
I built an additional graphic for these results, shown below. When stacked, you can better see the Love it + Like it grouping vs. the Dislike it + Hate it grouping.
Finally, at the end of the survey, I wanted to open the floodgates for comments and ideas. I asked, “If you could tell the Columbus Crew leadership anything, what would that be?”
Five hundred and seventy-seven respondents answered this open-ended prompt. There were many categories of comments here, ranging from recommending using some as secondary crests to the idea of birthing a new (fourth?!) logo that the club and fans design together. However, the most common themes were:
- Please listen to fans
- Get rid of the “C” logo
- Return to the circle logo (and drop the SC)
Whoopty do... What does it all mean, Basil?
The numbers speak for themselves; some of them loudly. While the survey was mainly of Crew fans who were on Twitter and Reddit this past weekend, 1,031 people is a large number of contributors to any study. And in the absence of other research, this may be the best data that is publicly available for now.
What’s next? It’s clear that this group changed their Crew gear spending habits in 2021 and plans to continue in the same manner in 2022. Generally, these fans do not feel connected to the new logo, and still have a desire a return to the circle logo.
It’s entirely possible that the logo is not a club priority at the moment. There’s an expansion draft coming up, offseason moves to worry about and the new MLS season starts in February. But if there is ever any interest in thinking about branding again, maybe this information will help.