Rebranding of the Washington Redskins

Washington Redskinsby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

(In full disclosure, I’ve been a loyal fan of the Dallas Cowboys since the 1960’s and the days of “Dandy” Don Meredith and Roger Staubach.) There has been a brewing controversy over the name and brand of the Washington Redskins. What started out as a cause for The Oneida Indian Nation, based in upstate New York has become a debated subject across our nation. It even has many Congressmen involved (though I doubt if they are really doing it out of their long support for the Oneida Indian Nation.)

I’m not going to address which side is right or if Mr. Dan Snyder should, or should not, change the name. Ultimately, it is a private enterprise and he has every right to do what he wants with his team, good or bad, right or wrong. What I want to address is something different.

Early reports put the price tag to rebrand the team around $15 million. (Here’s a great benchmark for any business looking to rebrand and think it’s just a logo and name change). The actual creative portion of the assignment (new name development, logo design) is a small part of the estimated price. The vast majority of the cost comes in two forms:

• Cost of conversion – There is a ton of “stuff” that would need to be replaced with the new logo and brand identity, stadiums, merchandise, offices and training facilities, sponsorship deals, etc.

• Cost of marketing – Then there is the work of having to market the team and what to do with the “new beginning”. What is the marketing strategy – A new era in Washington Football? It’s a brand new game? etc.

My real point is this: Creating a great brand is well worth the price tag. The current value of the Washington Redskins is $1.7 billion (3rd in the NFL, behind the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. Yes, a shameless plug for the Cowboys.) Investing in creating a great brand has exponential ROI. It’s not about immediate ticket sales or merchandise (the numbers). If you want that, tickets should be, “buy one, get one free”. The real value to any company or football team is the brand perception (the soft issues). I believe most business people would consider turning $15 million into $1.7 billion a good investment. This exactly how you should think of your brand.

My experience with Fortune 500 companies tells me that the most valuable asset ANY company has is their brand image. Everything else is just commodity. This is why they spend so much time, money and effort to creating, building, marketing and protecting the brand. It is the one thing that can’t be easily duplicated because it is soul deep.

So whatever Dan Snyder decides to do, there is one primary issue that should drive his thinking – what will I gain or lose by changing the brand and be willing to invest to make that brand payoff. Without the investment, then all you have is a new logo worth about $1,500.

P.S. – It pains me to put their logo on my blog, but all for the greater good.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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