The New England Patriots. You either love them or you hate them. As born and raised New Englanders we of course love them, but for those who drink Patriots Haterade we have a few choice words for you… branding and marketing. Say what you want about our beloved Pats, actually keep it to yourself, but you have to admit there is something to be said about the brand, its’ loyal following and ability to battle bad press.
Meet “Pat Patriot” & His Friend “Flying Elvis”
Like every solid brand a logo goes through an evolution. The challenge for many is that through the logo evolution, the original vision is lost. This has never been a problem for the Patriots, as they have been able to maintain their roots in their modern design.
1959, The Patriots who were then the “Boston Patriots” introduced a young lad known to fans as “Pat Patriot”. A man donned in his historical attire with a football touching the ground in hike position. Although that visual wasn’t used by the team until 1961, it became the symbol associated with Patriot nation. The use of red, white and blue produced an aura of patriotism which worked nicely with the American Football Sport. Over the years “Pat Patriot” had a few changes but remained their signature logo until 1992, when a modernized version of “Pat” took over the brand.
“Flying Elvis” is one description for the modern day Patriot’s logo. The design came at a time where media was playing a bigger role, and the complexity of “Pat Patriot” wasn’t clear on all platforms. The choice to go for a simplified profile of a patriot with the streaming flag allows the franchise to use it on all media, marketing and merch without compromising the look and having to tweak the design on frequent basis.
In comparing the two logos they are incredibly different, but oddly consistent. “Pat Patriot” pays homage to the Boston history and although the new logo threw out the colonial attire, it continues to don the patriotic colors and feature an actual patriot. The bridge between the two concepts is not a subtle one, but worked for the franchise. Fans in 2015 continue to rock apparel reflecting the new and improved patriot as well as our old friend Pat. Offering both options in apparel and merchandise has bridged the gap between the two eras of logos cohesively and is what makes their rebranding an impressive mark.
Ride or Die
Much like the loved Boston Red Sox, the Patriots know a thing or two about fan loyalty and how to merge that loyalty with marketing efforts. Introducing the New England Patriots’ Game Day Live app. Combining mobile tech apps the Patriots created a notification system that offers game day updates like traffic, weather conditions and the best addition… bathroom recommendations closest to your seat with the shortest lines… genius.
It’s no wonder the team has sold out every game since 94’. Loyalty programs will always garner appreciation from the fans and the Patriots seem to have all avenues covered. Wi-fi in the stadium, realtime parking updates, and the extra point Patriot credit card that wins you exclusive team experiences and tickets. Loyal Patriots fans are there for the team win or loose, so by providing extra perks, the franchise is simply enhancing the love that is already there.
Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Bad Press
As Taylor Swift says, “the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate”. But can you hate a team that actively manages their brand? For example. A couple years back, a player of the franchise, he-who-shall-not-be-named was charged with a heinous crime. Although the team was under legal obligation to honor the terms of his contract they wanted his bad name off of the team officially, and proceeded to take it a step further for their fans and brand name. The Patriots came out with a promotion, that all jerseys of he-who-shall-not-be-named could be traded in FREE of charge to get another players jersey… Really? Free of Charge? This was unheard of in professional sports and showed that the franchise cared about their brand image and those who invested in that brand. A great move for the team, and not the only time they would stand tall and rise above bad press.
Almost immediately after the New England Patriots fairly won their spot into the 2015 Super Bowl, controversy regarding “deflated” footballs came out and about for a Sunday stroll. While the Pat’s could have ignored speculation or stomped their feet in protest, they took the situation and media head on so that they could move forward and focus their energy on the game at stake.
All New England fans know our leader Bill Belicheck is a man of few words. As all media platforms turned their attention to #deflategate, Bill stood tall and handled the situation like a pro, which is not the norm for our coach. With little facts known, the team did not need to address the accusations, however made the proactive decision to be transparent, say what they needed to say and move on. Although, media coverage can’t seem to let it go, the Patriots handled the issue with composure and as a brand stood firmly with their feet on the ground, a strong move that can be appreciated regardless if you are a member of the Pat’s fandom.
As one of the top NFL teams with the most loyal following, the Patriots are without a doubt doing something right, because regardless of rumors, bad press or losses, their seats are always full with insane New Englanders rain or snow… which is something not every professional sports team can say.
Best of luck this Sunday boys. In Bill We Trust.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.