un·der·whelm, verb. Fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone); disappoint.
Unfortunately for fans of the Cleveland Browns, this is a word they are becoming all too familiar with.
After closing out the 2014 season by setting a franchise record for the longest period without a playoff appearance, the team has disappointed fans once again this week with the reveal of an entirely lackluster new branding campaign, a project that had been in the works since 2013.
Originally set in motion to give the team a new spark, the plan involving sports mega company Nike was to redesign the logo, helmets, and uniforms. For nearly two years, fans waited in anticipation of the team’s new look. When pictures were released on Tuesday showing the new helmet design, it seems the only spark the team set off was one of criticism and disappointment.
Almost immediately, comments began pouring onto news streams and social media. Chris Chase, sports columnist for USA Today tweeted, “Cleveland Browns unveil new logo that's just as boring as before.” Apparently the 33,000 people that shared this agreed.
Cleveland.com ran an article titled, “Cleveland Browns new logo fails to impress,” sharing comments from hometown fans, one of which wrote, “The Browns didn't change their logo, they just changed an Instagram filter.”
Even CBS sports got in on the discussion, posting sarcastically to their Twitter feed, “Whoa, the Browns got CRAZY with their new logo.”
It seems nearly unanimous; the branding campaign was a flop.
If you have yet to see what everyone is talking about, here are the changes the Browns made:
If you had to look twice to even notice the differences, you’re not alone, so did the rest of the world.
So what went wrong?
I think it comes down to this: It’s not bold. It’s boring, it lacks visual dynamics, and it just doesn’t have impact.
What the Browns needed from their marketing department was a new design that would add a new sizzle to the team’s NFL presence. What it seems they got is a design that was just as bland as before.
The lesson here, is that today’s consumers are looking for more. Ordinary just doesn’t cut it. And let’s face it, no matter what type of business you operate these days, competition is fierce out there. In today’s world it really is survival of the fittest. When it comes to branding and marketing, you have to set yourself apart. You have to be unique. You must be bold.