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Sporting team brands have an important role to play in evolving social equity.

It’s not every day a National league team in the US re-brands. The brand value of the National franchises is so incredibly high, that re-naming and rebranding is almost unheard of. But following the increased focus on cultural sensitivity around the world brought-on by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is exactly what the Washington Redskins have decided to do.

Whilst on the surface you’d be forgiven for thinking this move is well overdue, brands have a way of becoming part of the vernacular, where their names and logos come to mean more over time than their literal translation. This can lead to many positive associations for the brand, but can also lead to the scenario where an offensive name of brand image can be left in place well beyond it’s politically correct use-by date due to a kind of ‘cultural blindness’ that occurs with large numbers of people who no longer see the brand name and symbol in a literal light.

Changing a brand’s name and identity at the same time is a seismic event. This approach is not something to be taken lightly, especially when a brand has such a high degree of equity. But the NFL and the team itself have found themselves at a point in history where there is no other choice. Given these driving forces, they have taken the unusually prudent path in making the ‘right decision’ and looking to leverage the associated media buzz to launch a newly named and designed brand for the franchise.

We hope the new brand is a huge success, as a reward for doing the right thing but also as a reflection of how society should constantly seek true equality and evolve in that direction no matter the pain. In this endeavor, sport can provide an important platform and branding can provide the flag we fly together to strive for a better world.

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Truly Deeply is an Australian-based branding agency with 30 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. Our deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. We have a deep expertise working with corporate, retail, food & beverage, health and property clients. Find out more here
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Pics courtesy Washington Redskins

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