Football identities are a badge of life-long loyalty

In response to Quentin Newark’s Defensive Shield article (DW 29 August), as a past director of Hibernian Football Club I was heavily involved in the creation of Hibs’ ‘new’ badge (pictured) and I take issue with some points raised in the piece. Football clubs have members, whom they have a responsibility to look after. Can anyone think of an example of a commercial organisation that generates and nurtures more passionate, lifelong ‘brand loyalty’ than a football club? While Newark recognises the loyalty football clubs command in the opening line of the editorial, the article concludes with the comparison of club badges with brand imagery such as the Nike swoosh, and the comment on the former’s lack of ‘power’ when compared to the latter is, I feel, unjustified. Both may undoubtedly achieve recognition on a worldwide scale, but a football club’s badge will always be inherently more ‘powerful’ than the Nike swoosh. Clubs have badges not simply ‘logos’ and these badges do not exist solely to sell products. Club members care first and foremost about belonging, loyalty, heritage and their club’s success, not about organisational structure, marketing merchandise and certainly not ‘commercial logos’. Badges represent the club’s longevity, tradition and history. The heart and soul of any club is its fan base and, for supporters, allegiance to the club and its heritage runs deeper than admiration of its commercial enterprise. At Hibs we consulted the real fans at every step of the redesign and these fans chose an heraldic badge with a detailed, rational justification. Indeed, a fan was responsible for the original idea. Perhaps those of us in the ‘branding’ business should listen more to real customers and not force our often dubious creativity on an increasingly sceptical public. We could learn a lot from football about what really matters in life, and it’s not just about money. Erick Davidson Chief executive Tayburn Edinburgh EH9 1PJ

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