There has been much debate about the name change recently announced by the Jacksonville Suns. The team is being renamed to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. If you use social media conversations as the litmus test on the success or failure of this idea, it would seem that the city is overwhelmingly against the name change and the citizens deem it a failure.
To demonstrate, here are a few of the comments that came up on Facebook in a recent conversation started by writer Kerry Speckman…
As the Creative Director of a marketing agency and a designer with more than 15+ years of experience, I pay attention to these types of brand identity changes and have personally created hundreds of logos for companies large and small in a multitude of industries. So, when I started to read the backlash, I looked at it from the perspective of the owner and their marketing team. While I was not involved in this project I would like to weigh in with a different point of view and items to consider.
5 Points to Consider Regarding a Brand Name Change
- Goals of the name change – At this point everyone is speculating on the name change and it’s impact on the city. The one thing no one is discussing is what the purpose of the name change was for the new owner, Ken Babby. As a new owner, he is setting the stage for his business not only for today but for years to come. Savvy business owners think in long-term strategy not just instantaneous gratification.
- The target audience – In order to increase engagement and sell more tickets, the target audience must be considered. Minor league teams are a great family event that are cost effective compared to higher ticketed items such as pro or college football. If you are looking to appeal to families then you need to appeal to kids. A jumbo shrimp is more likely to appeal to a child than a sun mascot. I submit Chuck E. Cheese as Exhibit A.
- Creating buzz – Nothing creates buzz and visibility more than controversial topics. Just look at the presidential race to see how much traction is gained by a polarizing topic. Staying with the Suns brand would be an easy solution, but it would most likely continue to deliver sub par results. Although this name may draw strong criticism, it has already succeeded in getting more media and local attention than the Suns have received in recent memory. I would venture to say that there are probably new residents and visitors to Jacksonville that had no idea that we had a professional baseball team, but they are very aware now.
- Previous results – Nothing beats results and when you have a proven record of completing a brand makeover successfully, then your critics have little room to talk. The most effective choices are rarely the popular choices. In business if you lead by popular demand, you will quickly fail.
- Going against the grain – Some of most successful brands are the ones that have boldly gone where others were afraid to. In today’s society individuality and authenticity rule. Why not embrace your uniqueness, your weirdness, your quirkiness – you may just connect to people on a different level and find that you have a new audience of raving fans.
Time will tell if the Jacksonville Suns name change to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp will prove to be a good idea or a bad one, but regardless of the name, I will continue to support our city and the sports teams as a proud Jacksonville resident.
What’s your take? Head over to the Rock My Image facebook page and let us know if you like the name change.