Grantland: Raptors brand identity
Old 06-13-2014, 11:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Grantland: Raptors brand identity

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Things change quickly in the NBA. It’s been less than a handful of years since the 3-D logo was introduced, but it already feels antiquated. So much has happened since Colangelo left his post as president and GM a year ago. In a matter of months, successor Masai Ujiri cultivated a roster that was not only winning, but played in a way that was conducive to rabid fan support, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Vince Carter’s bitter departure. Somehow, Colangelo’s vision was both too grand and too limiting. He looked to the rest of the world for skilled (and cheap) talent to help him define Toronto’s team, but was unable to forge an emotional connection to the fans with the product he was building. Under the guidance of Ujiri, and with the support of MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke, the organization found inspiration in the city it called home, and broadcast what it saw to a national audience. The Raptors’ sudden transformation into a playoff squad forced them to expedite their timeline for a full-scale brand revival, which was slated for launch during the 2015-16 season. The organization, and the city, couldn’t afford to wait that long. So began “We the North.”

Promotional ads with rain, snow, fire, and eerie shots of huskies just kind of sitting on urban Toronto playgrounds; murals in hallways and elsewhere; big black flags being waved inside and outside the Air Canada Centre. Remember “**** Brooklyn”? Remember the ABC broadcast panning their cameras to the hordes of fans in the thousands, screaming their faces off outside the Air Canada Centre? It’s brand promotion disguised as pseudo-revolution, but at the very least it has stirred the pot.

The Raptors understand what they have in their hands, and they’ll continue to build upon this handcrafted identity until it can blossom fully. “You’ll likely see something different next year that is ‘We the North’ on our court,” Hosford said. “We’re just going through the final strokes of design for that. But in terms of something radically different, you won’t be seeing that until the 2016 season.” “We the North” along each of the sidelines would be an obvious choice — like an applause sign that’s always lit.

Cynics will easily cut through all of this noise. But sports fandom is a lot about finding an identity, and this Raptors campaign hits all the notes for the next generation of fans. It comes at a time when interest in basketball has never been stronger, reflecting the shifting tides of Canadian sports fandom. It comes at a time when we could, perhaps, see the second straight Canadian prospect selected first overall in the upcoming NBA draft. By 2016, maybe we’ll consider Drake (who has been a collaborative partner in this brand overhaul) the Raps game Robert Indiana. Maybe the Air Canada Centre becomes the new MECCA or, loftier still, the new Mecca. Or not — probably not. In any case, whatever is coming will be a whole lot more provocative than some optical illusion along the baseline.
Optical Illusions: A Look at the Recent Past and Near Future of the Raptors’ Brand Identity
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Written by an intern. Good job intern. Good job.
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't get all this rebranding (other than the $$$ it will produce). I always thought our look was hip enough. I hope they don't mess it up too much.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The "We the North" campaign was pretty successful. Tim and the marketing team did a great job hyping us up for the playoffs. We're actually being recognized across the league as a top 3-5 fanbase now.

As for re branding, do you guys think they're planning to change the red white and black to blue? We know the retro purple is coming back, but blue and white?
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 0nekhmer View Post
The "We the North" campaign was pretty successful. Tim and the marketing team did a great job hyping us up for the playoffs. We're actually being recognized across the league as a top 3-5 fanbase now.

As for re branding, do you guys think they're planning to change the red white and black to blue? We know the retro purple is coming back, but blue and white?
I wonder how many outsider's know that half those fans didn't even watch the Raptors till the playoofs. I love the support raps get from babdwagoners but they have to be consistent throughout the season
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I wonder how many outsider's know that half those fans didn't even watch the Raptors till the playoofs. I love the support raps get from babdwagoners but they have to be consistent throughout the season
If you build it, they will come. Those same bandwagoners who supported the Raptors in the playoffs WILL tune in on game 1 of the regular season, and if the Raptors continue building on their success of this season, the support will not only be there from those followers, but grow stronger in numbers from other fairweather fans, or fans of other sports in TOR that want to finally support a winner. Masai's got a big job ahead of him this off season.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wonder how many outsider's know that half those fans didn't even watch the Raptors till the playoofs. I love the support raps get from babdwagoners but they have to be consistent throughout the season
I think we've always had a pretty good fanbase, but bandwagonners appear everywhere. I mean look at Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta. They all made the playoffs but were nowhere near as excited as our regular season fans.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Except Washington, which I think actually got some decent support (also D.C. is bigger than people realize), Atlanta and Indiana are well known in the last five years to be a poor calibre of audience. I heard Indiana had to slash prices to their playoffs, including the Eastern Conference Finals, just to get people in the seats, and I mean like $10-25 tickets.
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I was in DC when the playoffs began. They were not sold out for the first home playoff game until maybe the day before. I'm thinking they had to slash prices a bit to get it done.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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As for the "bandwagoners", I have no problem with them.

Yes, when the Raps play well, ticket sales are great. When they suck, the borderline fans stay away. I LIKE THAT!! That makes the management try to put a winning team on the floor.

We only have to look to the Leafs for what happens when you fill the arena year after year for a crappy team. Do you really think Leaf management thinks there is a problem with the team?

Like Mr Don't Lie says. Build it and they will come.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Raptorman View Post
As for the "bandwagoners", I have no problem with them.

Yes, when the Raps play well, ticket sales are great. When they suck, the borderline fans stay away. I LIKE THAT!! That makes the management try to put a winning team on the floor.

We only have to look to the Leafs for what happens when you fill the arena year after year for a crappy team. Do you really think Leaf management thinks there is a problem with the team?

Like Mr Don't Lie says. Build it and they will come.
Even when the Raptors play like shit ticket sales are impressive imo. The norm is when a team tank/rebuild they have 13, 000 at games. Let's face it, teams like the Leafs, knicks, bulls are an exception. Living in a city with a team like that and making direct comparisons isn't very fair imo. I've heard people calling in on radio shows saying the Raptors attendence is poor and they were averaging 18k. It just goes to show that people measure attendence here by sell outs and anything less is poor.
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