Remember that extremely geeky, greasy haired, pimply nerd in your high school who magically appeared after a summer with clear skin, and a new wardrobe? The outward appearance was different but when he signed up for the AV club and still hung out with the pocket protector crowd you knew nothing had really changed.
Although they are far from being pimply geeks, in fact the guys are surprising everyone, rebranding the Phoenix Coyotes would be very much like the above described scenario. With an impending sale to Ice Edge Holdings, there has been some talk about how to “reinvent” the team to gain more fan and media support. There have already been some new marketing campaigns in place to get fans in the seats. The “You Win, We Win” promotion, the Coyotes Express shuttle from the East Valley (which has just recently added more games) All-You-Can-Eat Packages and the Sandstorm ticket promotion are all new ploys to gain more attendance at games. But a total rebranding? As a marketing and advertising exec I know that a rebranding typically involves name, logo and mascot changes not to mention new messaging and philosophies. To some degree some new messaging has been implemented with the “We Play for You” and the “Join the Pack” taglines. This however, is nothing new in pro sports, and is just an added message to the already core product.Some argue that making some complete changes could be the way to erase years of bad memories and ill will generated by team and financial failure. However the team has already been rebranded twice! Once from the Winnipeg Jets to the Phoenix Coyotes with the picasso-like multi-colored coyote to the howling coyote head of today. If you count the inception of the 3rd jersey and its leaping fox, you can say the team has been rebranded (at least logo-wise) 3 times. Has it attracted droves of fans? Has it made the team profitable? Unfortunately no. Like the nerdy kid this new “rebranding” would strictly be a cosmetic change. The team and its history remain the same, you can’t remove that completely from Phoenix’s memory by slapping a bandaid over it.
I say the best way to ensure a sucessful new reign with new owners, new mentality and new coach Tippett is to wear the battle scars proudly. And win…because winning = fans and support. When the Phoenix Coyotes come out of this alive and on top (as I believe they will) it will be an honor to still wear the red and white with the howling or leaping coyote on their chests. A testament to overcoming the trials, tribulations and the tumultuous years they have had.
Besides..do you remember the New Coke debaucle? Some things are better left alone…the Phoenix Coyotes included.