Rebranding Wasserman

Author Bobby Ward, University of San Francisco

Author Rachel Franks, University of San Francisco

Posted: April 27, 2016

A brand is not only a tangible, visible aspect of a company/person but also an identity for that company/person. There are various ways you can shape your brand. For the sport marketing and talent management company, Wasserman, that included a change to their company name, logo, and internal structure. In an effort to highlight some of company’s other services outside of the sport and entertainment realm Wasserman is “In a rebrand, the 600-person company will now be known simply as “Wasserman.” A new logo with a single “W” accompanies the change for the company, founded in 2002” (Lefton, 2016, para. 2).

Wasserman had many things to consider when designing a new logo. Their old logo was a ball with multi colored stripes, while their new logo is a simple orange ball with a white W. Wasserman used both perceptual and conceptual design elements when creating their logo. Perceptual elements are the physical characteristics that you see when you look at a logo. One perceptual element Wasserman’s team used was Oaklaman’s Razor, which is when there are two equal options the simpler one is always the better choice (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, loc. 2946). The Wasserman’s logo was simplified from about 10 colors to two and all the circular lines were replaced with a clean W. The new logo also shows use of figure/ground relationship, which is when an element of the design is highlighted when it is placed on a different colored background (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, loc. 2902). The W in the Wasserman logo is highlighted by the orange circle, otherwise a white W would be invisible. The logo also utilizes conceptual design principles, which are what you think about when you look at the physical elements of the design. One element they use is interpretation, interpretation is how consumers draw meaning from a logo (Malkewitz & Bee, 2014, loc. 2985). In Wasserman’s case their old logo, the colorful ball, could not clearly be interpreted to mean anything truly associated with their talent, brands and properties services. Whereas the W in their new logo can easily be interpreted as the first letter of Wasserman and meaning of the logo is clear.

The Wasserman’s company not only changed their logo, but also the name from Wasserman Media Group to simply Wasserman. When it comes to brand identity a good brand name is extremely important. The first rule of naming a brand is that the name is easy to say (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, loc. 3357). The name Wasserman in itself is a little long and adding media group to it further complicates the brand. So switching to simply Wasserman makes the name shorter, easier to say, spell and remember. Another important part of a brand name is that it should have positive connotations (Dalakas & Rose, 2014, loc. 3450). Media is not always thought of as a good thing, especially to sports teams and athletes, eliminating media from the names removes the bad connotation. Media group is also very vague, it does not give a description of what the company does and adds more confusion. While, Wasserman does not give any ideas of what the company is, it is not putting any misleading ideas into consumer’s minds.

The logo and name change were not the only changes that Wasserman made. The company also made some internal operational changes to align itself with its new perceptual changes by “creating cross-functional teams: one handling brands, one handling talent and one handling properties. Formerly, the company’s structure was based on service offerings” (Lefton, 2016, para. 5). This creates synchronization within the organization and according to professor Goldman, “Consistency is crucial for branding” (Lecture, April 6th, 206).

To the untrained eye, the changes that Wasserman made are simple changes in their logo and name, but the change was a strategically planned out move that will have a strong impact on the company moving forward. A company of this magnitude does not change anything without proper planning and according to Wasserman’s CMO, Denise Durant “the repositioning began around a year ago, with all the strategic and creative work handled internally” (Lefton, 2016, para. 3). Wasserman is one of the largest marketing and talent management agencies in the world and it will be interesting to see how this change affects other marketing agencies branding moving forward.

 

References

Dalakas, V., & Rose, G. (2014). Developing brand identity in sport: lions, and tigers, and bears oh my. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L.Stinson (Eds.), ​​Leveraging brands in sport business​​​​ [Kindle version] (loc. 3298-3635). Retrieved from Amazon.com

Gladden, J. (2014). Brand equity: management and measurement in sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L.Stinson (Eds.), ​​Leveraging brands in sport business​​​​ [Kindle version] (loc. 182-631). Retrieved from Amazon.com

Lefton, T. (2016, February 22). Rebrand simplifies name to ‘Wasserman’.​ SportsBusiness Journal, 18​​(43), 4. Retrieved from www.sportsbusinessdaily.com

Malkewitz, K., & Bee, C. (2014). Undertaking successful brand design. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L.Stinson (Eds.), ​​Leveraging brands in sport business​​​​ [Kindle version] (loc. 2782-3288). Retrieved from Amazon.com

About Bobby Ward, University of San Francisco

Bobby is a graduate student in Sport Management Program at the University of San Francisco. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in public relations, Bobby pursued a career in broadcasting and spent a season with the California Winter League as a media and broadcast intern. Ultimately, Bobby decided he wanted to be more involved on the business side of sports and worked as part-time sales representative for the Sacramento River Cats before coming out to San Francisco where he now works as a sales consultant for the San Francisco Giants. Although baseball is his passion, Bobby was born in the mountains of Tahoe and was former Junior Olympic freestyle skier. You can follow Bobby on Twitter @REWard_17 or connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobby-ward-a7a10690. This article is an edited version of a paper Bobby prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

About Rachel Franks, University of San Francisco

Rachel recently graduated Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and is currently in the Sport Management graduate program at the University of San Francisco. While at Tech, she worked as the sports director for VTTV, a sports writer for the Collegiate Times and an intern for Roanoke’s NBC affiliate WSLS. She is currently working as an athletic department grad tutor for USF and a fan experience intern for Cal Berkeley. Her plans are continue her exploring the sports industry until she finds the right path for her. This article is an edited version of a paper Rachel prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco. You can find Rachel on Twitter at @RachelReports or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-franks-2a005a61.

IImage by @Wasserman, "Profile image", retrieved from www.twitter.com/wasserman