The Logocast Episode 25 – Brandiose

Written By:  •  Monday, February 25, 2013

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In this episode of the Logocast, the entire show is devoted to our interview with Brandiose!  We talked with Casey and Jason about how they got started, their work new and old, and their plans for the future. Brandiose has been at the top of our guest list since day one. Suffice it to say, we were thrilled to finally talk with them.  We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did.

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(CREDIT FOR THE LOGO – Matt Kauzlarich of Studio 1344)

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Michael Waldrop

Michael Waldrop is a co-host/producer of the world's only sports design podcast, The Logocast, in addition to writing for sportslogos.net. You can reach him at @Michael_Waldrop on twitter.

  • http://www.crossingbroad.com/writer-dan-fuller/ Dan Fuller

    The interview was enjoyable to listen to but relatively “fluffy” in that you guys took a relatively passive role in the discussion. The stories the Brandiose guys shared showed their enthusiasm, but there wasn’t a lot of insight that they shared other than that their process involves them trying really hard to figure out the best iconography and history to use. It’s tough to hear them spout nonsense marketing lingo without anyone jumping in and calling out that lingo. I wasn’t transcribing when I was listening, but the specific phrasing “changing the experience of buying a hat” still sticks out. That shouldn’t be something that you guys passively hear and not stop them and point out “Oh, you mean you designed multiple hats for fans to buy at the team’s request? Please explain what you mean by ‘experience.’” That sort of mean-nothing language was sprinkled throughout, but without any interruption from the interviewers. I’m not taking an anti-corporate/anti-merchandise stance here, but a spade needs to be called a spade, not an “all new digging experience!”

    Somewhat relatedly, I’m thinking back to when you guys were discussing one of Brandiose’s recent projects (the Emeralds, maybe?) and one of you pointed out that you generally like their projects, but you’re starting to find that all of ‘Brandiose’s mascots and logos just look like different characters from the same comic book.’ That’s a really interesting and accurate insight, and it would’ve been good to steer the conversation in that direction, and whether the Brandiose team views that as a good thing going forward, or if they’re looking an expanding their imagery beyond what’s become their “house style.” In the same way “that uniform looks like something Nike would come up with” is said (whether positively or negatively) it can be equally said that “this logo set looks like Brandiose.” Again, is that good or bad? Maybe OK for now, but eventually that approach will lead to diminishing returns; what’s their plan for overcoming that?

    One last nitpick: they kept mentioning that “80% of the fans at a minor league baseball game aren’t there for the game.” I searched Google for this (it’s tough due to the variations on “%”, “percent,” “80,” “eighty” and so on), but it looks like the president of Minor League Baseball said it. http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2011/05/07/minor-league-baseball-teams-make-push-lure-fans-major-league-deals/ This is a point the interviewers should have pushed. A branding company who specializes in out-of-the-box, non-baseball-related marketing is quoting a study that teams (that branding company’s customers) should be focusing on non-baseball? Hmm. Minor League Baseball, an organization whose main marketing goal is to not just be a lesser version of Major League Baseball, is quoting a study (paid for by MiLB? possibly) saying that their customers aren’t actually there for the baseball itself? Another “Hmm.” The study itself and its methodology would be interesting to learn, but neither Brandiose or MiLB seem like sources without a horse in that race. I’m not coming from a purist’s perspective; I really don’t care if people don’t focus on the baseball when they go to a baseball game, but I find questionable sources of data worth questioning. The issue with this “80%” number is that if it gets repeated enough without challenge it becomes considered a “fact.” I’m not taking the stance that it’s incorrect or even misleading; I’m taking the stance of “consider the source.” Heck, it’d be great if it turns out it came from a non-affiliated source, but I cringed every time the company (Brandiose) with financial incentive for a non-defined study’s results to reach a specific conclusion hyped that conclusion.

    From parsing their anecdotes, it’s interesting to note that even though it seems like the fans are the “customers” for Brandiose with respect to who’s buying the merchandise (or buying into “the brand” Brandiose is shaping), but it’s really the teams themselves that are the customers. Fans don’t care about a re-brand’s “marketability” and the like, but that’s exactly what the teams want. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, just that the sense of fan “ownership” of a team would have been an interesting avenue for discussion.

    The podcast hosts (and this site) probably have more to gain in being in the Brandiose team’s good graces, so I understand the hesitancy to really push the conversation in a not-as-glowing direction, but if there would be one venue for that discussion the podcast interview would be it. It’s not like there’s much discussion/dialogue with them other than when they show up in press release quotes when a team unveils a new branding strategy. That said, the Brandiose guys seem to “get it;” they seem really passionate about what they work on, they care, they do their due diligence, but there was room for there to be more discussion in the interview than just “tell us about this thing or that thing” (it doesn’t need to be an argument; for example I can’t imagine they haven’t realized their output has an unmistakable “Brandiose feel” to it. Their own “brand” has become a component of all of their customer’s brands. In terms of marketing, that’s heavy stuff. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts).

    It was interesting to listen to, but a lot of avenues were left unexplored. (sorry – this is probably makes the worst feedback sandwich ever…)

    Fan Disclaimer: I live in Philadelphia, and I was conflicted about both the Reading Fightin Phils re-branding and, just as much, whether I had any room to be conflicted about that re-branding of a Minor League Baseball team for which I haven’t been a fan since 1994. (Shameless self-plug alert) I wrote quite a bit about both of those things when the re-brand was unveiled in November:
    http://www.crossingbroad.com/2012/11/reading_fightin_phils_re-branding.html

  • http://www.crossingbroad.com/writer-dan-fuller/ Dan Fuller

    Yikes — it took my line breaks away. Sorry for the wall of text…

  • http://gameplancreative.com Thomas O’Grady

    A huge “thank you” to Dan Fuller for providing a rare thing indeed on the Creamer site— an insightful probing review. Yes, Dan, the Logocast interview with Brandiose was truly a missed opportunity by the Logocast crew to stimulate conversation and learning. A shame really. I concur with so many of your points. Thank you for taking the time to articulate. The Logocast crew did dance around Brandiose without firing back any pointed intelligent questions. Certainly “changing the experience of buying a hat” or “80% of MiLB fans don’t attend a game for the baseball” was were pretty significant statements that slid past the MGM guys without as much as a raised eyebrow.

    Of course the overall frat boy comradery tone was bothersome and the fawning over C + J at the beginning was sophmoric. My reason for listening to the Brandiose podcast was simple and selfish to a point — I wanted to hear how Casey and Jason have been able to sustain their formula comic style (credit to Greg for that line Episodes ago) for so long? I was sure this “critter-era” was played out decades ago. But to their credit that look has had endured with amazing staying power! I would have poised the question to them… why do you think teams keep coming back for these juvenile oriented solutions? I would have been curious to ask them also if either of them had ever played baseball? I would have like to hear their thoughts on having to don the Eugene Emeralds alternate grass stain jersey? Would they feel proud to wear that? Would that look make them more confident? Also, what garment performance attributes do the EMS jerseys include? No questions like that or even remotely as such? Fail.

    Dan, I believe the Brandiose interview points out the Logocast crew and their listeners are more comfortable/familiar in a standard LIKE / DISLIKE format — which is fine for their audience. I assume those listener don’t know the first thing about what goes into creating a brand identity. Brandiose could have come across much more legitmate (IMO) if they took time to drill down into what constitutes a strong minor league brand identity instead of “it’s cool dude” answers. Too bad really.

    The Logocast show needs an industry expert (a Radom, a Frederick, a Richardson, etc) on the crew — who could bring a legitmate voice of reason and knowledge to their podcast. The Logocast has slid into a audio version of the Creamer Message Boards, an opinion-fest which dilutes the original concept of the show.

    I have not listened recently, because it has no real point nor position and has grown montonous in format and tone. This coming from a sports brand designer who thought the upside of the show was really promising. Hopefully the boys can make some adjustments, better prepare when they have guests and increase the articulation of idea and background to better engage us.