UMKC Rebrands For More Local Appeal

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Image via Kansas City Athletics

(Old Hat are proud partners of Front Office Sports)

Summer is a time of transition in the world of college athletics. For the athletic department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, major changes have been seen in the last few months. The department recently unveiled a new brand identity that includes a name change from the “University of Missouri-Kansas City Intercollegiate Athletic Department” to “Kansas City Athletics.”

The new brand identity also featured the unveiling of new logos: a primary logo featuring the fighting Roo and a secondary mark featuring an interlocking KC and the Roos moniker. For the staff of Kansas City Athletics, the rebrand was a high priority as the old identity did not convey a feeling that resonated with the school’s primary audience. 

“When Dr. Brandon Martin and myself started here about seven months ago, both of us found the old mark to be somewhat uninspiring,” says Curt Jacey, Deputy Athletics Director for External Relations with Kansas City Athletics. “The kangaroo is a unique mascot. We felt as we looked at the current mark that it lacked aggressiveness, toughness, and any feel of action or emotion in it. We decided we needed to start a program that would enable us to research what our fans, constituents, students, and student-athletes would want to see in a new mark.”

To find out what internal and external university stakeholders thought of the brand identity, Kansas City Athletics turned to Old Hat who surveyed both of these groups.

“I was really impressed with Old Hat throughout the entire project,” Jacey says. “They’re very systematic on how they approach a project. It didn’t start off as ‘we want to do a new logo’. It started as a research and survey piece and grew from there.”

More than 80% of respondents disliked the old brand identity. The results also showed that there was room for the school’s identity to tie more into that of the city itself. This was the reasoning for removing the word “Missouri” from the title of the department and why phrases like “Kansas City’s College Team” and “Kansas City Committed” will be part of their branding and marketing moving forward.

Old Hat also assisted the department in developing the new marks which convey a sense of strength and determination as well as a commitment to the local community.

“The process with Old Hat was nothing short of spectacular,” says Dr. Brandon Martin, Director of Athletics at Kansas City. “They brought a branding and marketing acumen to our department that was professional and timely for all stakeholders involved in the process. Old Hat has definitely been instrumental in our overarching goal of inspiring Kansas City.”

Also included in revamping the brand identity is a redesigned website and new designs on the school’s courts and fields. The school’s yellow color will also be displayed much more prominently in an effort to further differentiate themselves from other sports properties in Kansas City.

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In the time following the unveiling of the new brand identity, fans of the Roos have responded very well to the new brand identity. This signifies a strong start to a new era for Kansas City’s College Team.

“The early success of our rebrand has been an awakening for our alumni, fans, and supporters,” Martin says. “Kansas City and the local campus community has responded well by being more engaged through season tickets, demand for apparel and merchandise, and visiting our Kansas City Athletics website. Our social media presence with fans has also grown immensely.”

Old Hat are experts at helping athletic professionals achieve a more informed perspective on their fans’ behavior and decision-making process. To learn more, visit OldHatCreative.com