Research First was commissioned to look into the views of various stakeholders and the general public about the Crusaders brand, and to provide recommendations based on that research. Allen+Clark also provided research looking into the experiences of sporting bodies internationally that have considered or undertaken a name change.
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said the research findings will inform the next steps in the process.
“We are grateful for the thorough analysis undertaken by Research First and Allen+Clark, as well as those who have taken the time to provide their valuable feedback,” he said.
“What is clear from the research is that there are divided views on the name itself, but that people on both sides of the divide are incredibly passionate about this club and what it represents to them.
“A brand is much more than a name or a logo and this research has shown us that it is the values and legacy of this club that really endears us to our fans, so that needs to be the starting point of any discussion about the best way forward.
“Today we are committing to undertaking a thorough brand review, that will cover all elements of the brand, from the organisation and team’s values and vision through to the logo and team name.”
The brand review will commence shortly and any changes recommended by that review will be announced by the end of 2019 and come into effect in the 2021 season.
In the meantime, the Crusaders name will be retained for the remainder of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but an interim change to the logo will come into effect for next season, with the removal of the knight and sword image.
NZR CEO Steve Tew said the removal of medieval theming was an appropriate step for now, but any further consideration of the brand needs to be broader than a response to one event.
“Even prior to 15 March, the Crusaders had signalled their intention to complete a brand review,” Tew said.
“While the events of 15 March have accelerated and escalated that brand review, we do not want this to be solely a response to that tragic event.
“Both Research First and Allen+Clark have recommended taking our time to do this right. Research First pointed out that any change to this brand must be focussed on the future and not seen as a knee-jerk reaction to a single event.
“The Allen+Clark research highlighted that the practical execution of a name or brand change takes significant time.
“So even if we wanted to, no significant change would be feasible prior to the next Super Rugby season when you take into account obligations to commercial contracts that are linked to the existing brand, merchandise, and lead times on apparel.
“We have therefore concluded that we are better to pause our thinking on the team name at this point and instead allow that to become one of the outcomes of a full brand review.”
“We will go into the brand review with open minds, but no matter what the outcome of that exercise is, one thing that we will never seek to change or erase is our history,” Mansbridge said.
“This club has a very proud history and celebrating that is always going to be an important part of our brand story. We will continue to honour our past as we look to the future and what that may hold.”
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