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Branding: the Journey from the Bobcats to the Hornets

Posted by Randy Smith on Aug 7, 2015 9:37:49 AM

A name is everything. We all understand how important branding, image and perception are in the business world, but have you ever considered what your company name really means to your perspective audience? Contrary to popular belief, ‘brand positioning’ is not where your company is situated in the market place, it is where your brand name lives in the mind of the consumer.


Why Rebrand?

unnamedIn 2002, the city of Charlotte lost something more than an NBA franchise when the Hornets left for greener pastures. The team, which was born in the Queen City in 1988, had become an iconic part of the young city as both had increased in popularity and national recognition. The Hornets’ departure also broke a historical connection to Charlotte dating back to the Revolutionary War. Dubbed a “hornets' nest of rebellion” by British forces, the city named after the Queen Charlotte had gained a reputation as a hotbed of anti-British activity.

In 2003, a new team came to town. From the beginning, the Charlotte Bobcats were never the pride of the Queen City. Owner Bob Johnson wasn't exactly in the public's good graces after funding for the new arena was raised using tax payer dollars. Furthermore, the fact the franchise was his namesake contributed to its local unpopularity. Now whether the Bobcats' name had anything to do with the reason the team spent season after season mired in futility is a debatable point. What is apparent is the “Bob-cat's” name did not help the perception of the franchise in the eyes of the Charlotte fanbase. Rather, it served as a consistent reminder of a lost franchise and a messy political situation.

When the Hornets name again became available in late 2013, a city-wide grassroots effort began to bring the Hornets home. After franchise polling, fan organized events, and all but unanimous support, the decision was made that the team would be rebranded from the Bobcats back to the Hornets. When the announcement was made official, the city was overcome with jubilation! The team’s resurrection meant so much to the community that the exact color scheme was readopted and the logo updated.

unnamed (1)What does your business name say about your company? Does it imply a positive connotation? Does it bring your potential clients together, or might it reinforce a negative experience or event?

The name "Bobcats" will always be synonymous with the worst team in the NBA history.

A basketball team, much like what you are probably selling, is a commodity. There are many sports teams available to a potential fan. The reason the the Hornets is such a great name for a Charlotte sports franchise is because it is connected to the city's individuality and identity. Even though your company image and branding may not reference a local or historical event, it is important to view your brand through the eyes of your potential client and ask yourself, “Am I the Bobcats?”

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Ready to refresh your online brand identity? Get in touch with Synchronicity Web Designs today to start the branding process by calling 866-397-7962 to speak to an account representative or visit our website to get started.

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Tags: Branding