Erik Kocher Discusses Rec Center Branding in Athletic Business Magazine

By on August 28, 2017

The July/August 2017 issue of Athletic Business Magazine features an article written by Hastings+Chivetta’s Design Principal, Erik Kocher. “Branding the Campus Recreation Center” discusses the importance of branding in collegiate recreation centers.

“While an athletics department brands its facilities to drive attendance and fundraising — all under continuous pressure to deliver more, highly qualified students — most (if not all) institutions have taken similar branding strategies campus wide.”

All of Hastings+Chivetta’s recreation centers incorporate university branding including, most recently, The University of Utah’s George S. Eccles Student Life Center which encompasses the Utah “U” and signature red color throughout the exterior and interior design.

Also included in the article is research done by Hastings+Chivetta showing the costs of branding relative to total capital investment.

“As competition for students increases and interest in greater student participation continues to grow, smartly branded facilities are proving to be a selling point.”

Excerpt from Athletic Business Magazine:  We live in a branded world. The things we eat, the things we wear, the things we drive are all branded. From Rolex to Jaguar and IKEA to Kia, it is nearly impossible to escape branding. However, one place that we often do not see branding is in recreation centers or municipal community centers. Collegiate athletic facilities and many professional sports venues have led the way with institutional branding, and we are now seeing the concept of branding take hold in college recreation centers.

What is a brand?
In The Experience Economy, Joseph Pines describes the four stages of economic development, starting with the trading of commodities (agrarian societies), followed by the development of goods (Industrial Revolution), the offering of services (20th century), and culminating with the offering of experiences (today). Selling experiences rather than commodities or services is what now defines branding.

Sports apparel company Under Armour, for example, brands itself by linking the experience of a hard, sweaty workout to being energetic, active and healthy. It is the experience that creates the strong connection to the product, which drives brand loyalty.

A common misconception is that a logo is the brand. The brand is the story, history, expectations, impressions and the honesty of an institution. Goals, mission, values, visions and perception are the core elements of a strong brand. Logos are typically symbols that graphically represent a company (recreation department) or an institution (college or university), with or without text or a name associated with them. Logos are an important part of the branding process because they help the consumer (students) to identify, remember and differentiate one brand from another.

To read the entire article, click here.


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