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Why Is Rebranding A Football Club So Challenging?

We just couldn’t imagine life without the ‘beautiful game’. It’s what we think about on the way to work; what makes us shout at the weekends; and what we argue about when we nip to the pub. Football is everywhere. More than that, it brings out a level of loyalty and commitment that you just can’t get with any other industries.

And that’s exactly what football has become: an industry. There’s now so much money involved at the top level, it’s hard not to realise that each club is its very own business, striving to market themselves, sell tickets and ultimately make money. As with every other major business on the planet, football clubs pride themselves on their brand image.

The club crest. The colours and manufacturer of the kits. The sponsorship deals. These things aren’t just the foundations of your football club; they also combine to create a brand image. Inevitably, clubs will start looking at rebranding in order to freshen things up a bit, but this is much more challenging than it is with a normal business.

Changing Club Identity

The main issue with rebranding a football club is the fact you’re going to upset a lot of the fans. Whilst their allegiances to their other favourite brands- such as Nike, Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s- can be easily changed, football fans have no such luxury when it comes to their beloved club. Ultimately, this means that any changes you make to the brand are bound to cause a reaction.

At the start of the year, Leeds United changed their club crest in their attempt at a rebrand- and it’s fair to say fans didn’t react well. The club owners had changed the identity of the club, removing their iconic crest and replacing it with something straight out of a mid-00’s Pro Evolution Soccer video game. Fans love their football clubs, which is bound to make the majority highly critical of any changes.

In some extreme cases, such as with Red Bull Leipzig, the entire identity of the club can be upended by rebranding. With a new name, new kits and a completely different brand image- some football clubs are completely unrecognisable to what they were before.

Bringing An End To Tradition

It’s all about bringing an end to tradition. Most fans will have been connected to your club and brand from an incredibly early age, so they’ll be reluctant to accept a change to what they’re used to. Juventus are a prime example of this: a club steeped in history and with one of the largest fan bases in the world, they did away with tradition in 2017 when they introduced a brand new ‘J’ crest.

The reaction was fierce- a reaction no other type of brand would receive for changing their logo. Cardiff City are another example, when Vincent Tan did away with the traditional blue strips and replaced them with a vibrant red. The old Cardiff City were gone, and some fans naturally became a little disillusioned and concerned by the leadership.

In short, branding has a huge influence over your football club.

Disregarding Fan Loyalty

It’s the sheer loyalty and dedication to your brand which is the problem here. Fans follow your team so fervently, so passionately, that they just don’t want anyone to mess with their football club. They’ll inevitably feel as though any major changes are a complete disregard of their loyalty, which is why it’s always advisable to gauge the fans’ opinion before rolling out changes.

Rebranding a football club is one of the toughest challenges out there, especially when you’re keen to keep all of the fans happy!

VisionSharp provide a range of fantastic rebranding services alongside the best web design in Manchester. We are the experts when it comes to freshening up your business- regardless of whether you’re a football club, ecommerce business or anything in between!

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