Branding is not just a thing, its possibly the thing. It’s what makes something stand out from the crowd. Take McDonalds: they sell burgers and fries, but so does Burger King. The way McDonalds packages, markets and even builds their restaurants is what’s sets them apart. You can look at a lobby and know it belongs to a McDonalds without even seeing the logo. That’s brand implementation at work.
Sportsnet already had a distinctive look. They were the regional sports network in Canada, with networks for Ontario, the East Coast, the West coast and Western Canada plus a national channel. This was reflected in their Connected intro, which showed clips of Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and so forth. Along with a group of radio stations, they formed a big wing of Rogers media.
On Monday, Sportsnet debuted a new look. They didn’t change anything major: there’s still five networks, they’re still called Sportsnet and their flagship show is still called Connected. But their look is different. It’s still dominated by blues, but now it’s more flashy and high-tech. Their Connected graphics look like the workings of some giant machine with blue accent lighting. I think it looks a lot like TSN, actually.
Don’t get me wrong: their overhaul looks nice. Their ticker is cleaner looking and easier to read. Their new graphics are nice. I especially how the top of all their promos highlights which network is showing what. Their new logo looks good too. And the RS fits into the middle of their flagship show’s logo, kind of like how the SC logo fits right into the middle of Sportscentre. I don’t think that was an accident.
The most successful part of the rebrand is also the most obvious one: it ties everything together. Sportsnet the station now looks like the newly-launched Sportsnet the magazine, which also looks like the logo for Sportsnet Radio. It makes perfect sense that Sportsnet would tie all their assets together, especially as TSN ramps up its TSN Radio brand. And it has the added benefit of having the brands name as a prominent part of the station name: it’s not The Fan anymore, it’s Sportsnet Radio The Fan. Their TV side is similarly SN now, more recognizable than their previous logo (what was it supposed to be, anyway?).
All in all, it’s good stuff: in a short period of time, they’ve taken their assets and combined them into a solid front. If there actually is any conflict between Rogers and TSN, this is certainly the best way Rogers could present itself.
Mark Milner is a contributing writer for The Good Point. You can follow him on Twitter here.