Tuesday September 27, 2011
April Whitzman (Blue Jays Writer – MLB reports): It has been said that a logo symbolizes a company’s identity and provides an image of an organization second to none. Recognizing this, I have decided to analyze two recently leaked and rumored new MLB logos, belonging to the recently renamed Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Let’s start by analyzing the logo of the Florida Marlins… er the Miami Marlins. With a new home in Miami for 2012, the organization felt that there was no better way to start a new identity in their new home, than with a new logo.
The change in logo, in my opinion, is a good move. Now in my seventh (and final) year of university studying towards a degree in public relations and marketing, I have been taught time and time again that a logo contributes greatly to the visibility and credibility of a business. The two factors that will help an organization most flourish and attain success.
Eliminated long ago from making the playoffs, the Marlins are attempting to start over with a new ballpark, manager (Ozzie Guillen) and powerful logo. But that being said, is the logo doing everything it is set out to do?
Let’s begin by analyzing the colors used. There is no denying that color plays an important role in catching the eyes of viewers and is an integral part of an organization’s identity. Recognizing this, upon comparing the new logo with their existing one, one can see that the Marlins have used the same colors of turquoise/blue, orange, white, and black, but have also added the color yellow to the mix.
The colors used in a logo are important in terms of how the organization will be perceived psychologically. Keeping this in mind, what is the team trying to indicate with the added brightness? If one thinks about items that are yellow – the sun, a caution sign, a taxi cab, these are all things that are either associated with joy, energy, or are used to grab attention in order to make people take notice.
Is that what the Marlins are trying to say? Is the team trying to give a warning to the National League that this new Miami team is born again and ready to become the centre of attention of the baseball world?
In their last two years, the Marlins have not been a serious contender. It is evident that with a new logo, the team is attempting to erase all negative sentiments associated with the team of the past in the minds of the fans. But is getting rid of their reputable fish the way to do it?
Even with the added colour, the new logo seems to not be as energetic as many had envisioned, and in my personal opinion, the logo is very lifeless. A good logo is intended to help an organization stand out from the crowd and scream out their presence. I am not sure if the new Marlins logo does either successfully.
Many have echoed my sentiments of disapproval of the logo, believing there should be more consistency with the team. Some have even recommended keeping the ‘F’ style logo with the same background and colors and merely changing the ‘F’ to ‘M’ (for Miami).
Toronto Blue Jays
One of the first things I was taught during my public relation classes was that a logo immediately becomes an important extension of a brand’s message. For this reason, a logo must communicate that message in every possible way. This could be done through the image itself, through the shape, or through the colors, as long as the message remains consistent.
There is no doubt that the new Toronto Blue Jays’ logo does exactly this. Interestingly, the Blue Jays’ organization went for a different approach than that of the Marlins. Instead of pursuing a completely new perspective, the Jays chose instead to revisit a logo that was once an integral part of the team. Comparing the new logo to the one that was predominant when the team first started in 1977, one can see a lot of similarities.
This, in my opinion, was a great decision. Not only does the organization constantly hear comments from fans to bring back the retro bird, but also to move back to the logo that is associated with the team’s period of greatest success. That logo was predominant during the early 90’s when the Blue Jays’ won back-to-back World Series. So why not bring it back?
There are a few things that I remember clearly from my first marketing class: Know your customer and own your branding. The Toronto Blue Jays’ marketing initiative should be a complete success, as it is evident that by listening to their fans and introducing a new logo which incorporates the retro feel, the Jays are aware of what makes their core customers happy. In return, the organization recognizes that they will be able to sell new shirts, new hats, and new memorabilia with the new logo. Thus, Jays’ decision makers are bringing in additional revenues to the organization, which could become the difference in signing key players in the future.
Additionally, comparing the new logo to the most recent version, one can also see more emphasis placed on the color red through the symbolic image of the maple leaf. This to me not only accentuates the pride of being Canada’s only baseball team, but also represents the team’s message through the color red- which is known to denote energy, strength, power, determination and passion.
With new young and energetic players such as Brett Lawrie, Eric Thames, J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus and the Blue Jays’ motto of ‘hustle and heart; the focus of the red in the logo only accentuates the team’s message. With many speculating that the team will also be unleashing new red uniforms in 2012, this realization only becomes stronger.
While logos can have a great impact and be a strong influence in expressing a team’s message and identity, logos in themselves are meaningless without strong teams behind them. If the Marlins want to portray a message of ‘watch out’ with their new yellow-and-fishless logo, and if the Blue Jays want to portray an image of determination and passion with their retro bird and red-pride logo, both teams still require strong teams that match their key messages.
It is evident that the Miami Marlins are realizing the importance of matching their new logo and new stadium with a new team, as evidenced from the upcoming trade that brings Chicago White Sox’ Manager, Ozzie Guillen, to the Marlins. In addition, however, the Marlins are still in dire need of new pitching and more offense that will make the team truly feel ‘new’ in the minds of their fans.
Conversely, the Blue Jays also need pitching (both a dominant starter and a lights-out closer) and a productive first baseman. I would recommend that the Blue Jays not just try to sign a power first baseman (such as Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols) solely based on his numbers. One thing that every public relations professional realizes is that one’s key message must be consistent. Thus the Blue Jays must find players that fit within the team’s notions of energy, determination and passion.
At this present time, neither logos have been confirmed by either organization. It is evident that while both teams have a lot of potential in their logos, they just have to ensure that their respective key messages are constant within every aspect of their organizations. If the Marlins and Jays utilize this approach, with their logos, rosters and throughout their organizations, there is no doubt that both teams will find success in the future by starting new today.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Comment below, email MLBreports@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter at @Alleycat17.
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