By: Jeff Berry - Assistant Principal for Athletics and Activities, Colonial Forge High School (VA)
We all see iconic team logos that are easily recognizable in college and professional athletics. The interlocking NY of the Yankees, the menacing Leprechaun of Notre Dame, and the star of the Dallas Cowboys are just a few examples. Each of these images have been ingrained in our brain and as soon as they become visible to our eyes we know exactly which team they represent. Your high school athletic program can achieve the same results by applying some simple practices that can separate and elevate your athletic stature.
Design, Decide, and Dedicate
Bring together a group of trusted and established school stakeholders to design a logo or logos that will be used exclusively on your uniforms, websites, stadium decor, and apparel.
Decide which logos the athletic program will use exclusively. Limit the number of logos that will be used. You can always use slight variations of each logo to keep things fresh. Once the stakeholders have come to a consensus, distribute an "electronic folder" to all of your coaches, administrators, media and any other pertinent groups. Clearly communicate that these logos are the only ones that will be used when designing uniforms and spirit apparel.
Dedicate your athletic programs and social media to only using these logos on every t-shirt, website, uniform, presentation, etc. associated with your school. Being deliberate and repetitive with your approach has the same effect of a commercial jingle. It sticks in your head and is committed to memory whether you like it or not.
One Uniform Brand and One Sporting Good Company
When it is possible and "bidding" is not needed it is important to compound on your effort of branding your athletic program by using the same uniform brand and sporting goods company. Using the same uniform brand for your entire athletic program and teams creates a sense of unity but also protects your branding of the athletic program. Using the same brand ensures that your colors will always be the same. For example, Forest Green is always the same shade when using the same athletic brand. Not all brands share the same shades of certain colors. This might not seem like a big deal but it is a detail that can not be overlooked when keeping your athletic branding effort intact.
Using the same sporting good company for your entire athletic program is also a detail that cannot be overlooked. When using the same sporting good company the representatives know exactly what logos can be used for uniforms and apparel. This alleviates the problem of a team ordering apparel or uniforms that do not have the preferred logos, therefore compromising your effort of branding your athletic program. The sporting goods company that you are using almost exclusively will understand your likes and dislikes and anticipate what your school’s "style" might be. This can save time when choosing uniforms and apparel as well as developing your branding.
These branding strategies are some ways your athletic program can be easily recognizable and all of your teams look united in their appearance. Like anything you want to successfully achieve it takes a true commitment from all of your school's stakeholders.