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Cleveland Hits the Ball Out of the Park on Name Change

From our friends at PRCG/Haggerty…

The Cleveland Indians professional baseball team, like similarly branded clubs, has been pressured for years to change its name, which many Native Americans view as racist. Last week, it unveiled a new moniker with a campaign aimed at anticipating blowback. It wasn’t just good PR, but good crisis communications.

Baseball loves stats, and the team’s July 23 announcement that it would switch its name to the Cleveland Guardians had a lot of those. The organization was eager to show it had put a lot of effort into the project, which was a smart move.

To wit, it had surveyed 40,000 fans; conducted more than 100 hours of teammate brainstorming sessions and 140 hours of interviews with fans, community leaders and front-office staff; and gathered 1,198 appellation possibilities, which it narrowed to 14.

The new name comes from the “Guardians of Traffic” statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge near the team’s ballpark. Cleveland unveiled a new “Guardian Fastball” logo, yet the press release emphasized continuity in colors, typescript and its “C” symbol, which it adopted after dropping its controversial Chief Wahoo logo in 2019.

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