Old Hat uncovered a variety of opinions from athletics and university staff that provided great insight into where we should go with our identity. Combining our feedback and their creative expertise, Old Hat got us to where we wanted to go with our brand and identity, as the world class university in the world class city of Kansas City.
- Dr. Brandon Martin, Director of Athletics -
THE REBRANDING OF KANSAS CITY ATHLETICS
Of all the case studies that showcase Old Hat's work, there is none that is a better example of the soup-to-nuts level of service offerings we offer more than the brand overhaul for the University of Missouri - Kansas City. UMKC approached Old Hat in February of 2019 with the task of helping them reset their brand in the Kansas City market for increased revenue and attendance at events.
Old Hat completed this task over the course of many months through multiple phases and continues to work closely with Kansas City Athletics to help continue the evolution of the KC Roos brand.
PHASE 1 - SCOUTING: MARKET RESEARCH & DATA ANALYTICS
The UMKC Athletics brand identity was in need of an upgrade and a refresh. The existing Roos’ mark didn’t resonate with student-athletes, students, coaches, and (most notably) fans. Old Hat was tasked with repositioning the department in the KC area while adjusting their identity to one that centered on being the city’s DI team. With that in mind, we embarked on a dual-discovery, reviewing both the brand and the identity.
What We Discovered
We quickly realized that while a brand refresh was necessary, we needed to start with a new identity (family of marks) as the existing logos simply weren't recognizable. We conducted surveys of UMKC fans and members of the surrounding community, as well as athletics admins / faculty to identify where they’re “at” and how they got “there” in the first place.
The overwhelming response from our discovery session with the university and athletics administrators was that they wanted their brand identity to truly embrace “Kansas City.” As the only DI college program within a short drive from the KC metropolitan area, they felt that they needed to do a better job of “owning” Kansas City. Additionally, they felt that their current identity did not communicate strength, did not look “collegiate”, and certainly did not express any ties to the city they call home.
From an external perspective, the current brand identity lacked equity with fans. Fan surveys revealed that even among long-standing UMKC fans, there was an apathy toward the primary logo and accompanying marks. We saw this as a great opportunity to reignite passion with the established fanbase and create affinity with students, younger fans and families in the surrounding area.
What They Didn't Like:
No tie to Kansas City
Kangaroo is unattractive
Not "athletic" looking
What They Liked:
Not much else
PHASE 2 - PLAYBOOK: A RECOMMENDED DIRECTION
We wanted to revamp their brand identity with a mark that paid tribute to their past while appealing to a greater group of fans / alums. We also wanted to incorporate elements of Kansas City (specifically architectural elements) and make these a definitive a big part of the new identity. Furthermore, we wanted to reposition them away from the UMKC moniker to being referred to simply as “Kansas City”.
Some Initial Sketches
PHASE 3 - GAMEDAY: A TANGIBLE DIRECTION
One of the most important recommendations we made was a transition away from "UMKC Athletics" to "Kansas City Athletics." We felt that in order to truly appeal to a city so passionate about their sports teams, all of whom proudly proclaim their city's name as a part of their brand identity, we too must follow suit. We also wanted to pay tribute to the city's architecture through the shape of the custom typeface, the interlocking KC and the overall shape of the mascot. And finally, we felt that by creating a mascot mark that honored a historical mark that held some fan affinity from years past would be a good way to engage long-time fans.
Kansas City Athletics New Brand Identity
HONORING THE PAST WHILE LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Despite the move away from the "UMKC" moniker when referencing the athletics program, we did want to make sure we reminded fans, alumni and administration that while we are "Kansas City Athletics," we'll always be a part of UMKC. To do that, we hid an "easter egg" in the primary mark so when you look closely you can still see a "U" in the Roo's snout, an "M" in the Roo's neck and the "KC" on his sweater. We created this animation to post on social media a few weeks after the brand launch.
PHASE 4 - POSTGAME: BRAND ROLLOUT
What makes Old Hat truly unique is that unlike most branding firms, we are able to provide all of the elements an athletic organization needs to fully execute their brand across all platforms. From print collateral to outdoor advertising, from broadcast to videoboard graphics, from digital/social to facility graphics, Old Hat has expertise in every aspect of what an athletic department needs to make sure its brand is executed properly to maximize fan engagement, athlete recruitment, attendance and revenue generation. Here are just a few examples of the elements we produced (and continue to produce) for Kansas City Athletics.