Last night at the Boston stop on the 2018 Northeastern Coaching Caravan, Athletic Director Jeff Konya unveiling the new marketing and branding plan for Northeastern athletics, entitled “A New Breed is Born.” In addition to the new tagline, Konya also unveiled the new primary and secondary logos that will be used to represent Northeastern athletics starting this Friday when women’s soccer kicks off the 2018-19 athletic season.
Per Konya, the new Husky head will be the primary logo used as the centerpiece for all jerseys, while the secondary logos will be used at various stages as jersey accents and for various promotional tools. Calling this the “King Husky logo” after the live mascot for the University, Konya talked about the logo looking forward into the future, being proud of its success, and “leading from the front of the pack”. Konya mentioned twice how Northeastern athletics “have been passive in the past” with regards to promotions and putting the Northeastern brand on the map and in the public eye. He stated that “we are going to be unafraid to show success in the new future”.
In addition to the relatively new hashtag #HowlinHuskies, which Konya said was devised as a way to be unique in our social media, Konya also mentioned that there will be a concerted effort to bring alumni and people previously associated with the university back into the fold via his “calling the pack home” initiative. Konya repeatedly stated that he likes to run a transparent department, and both enjoys hearing feedback from his fellow Huskies fans and he seeks out people’s opinions. He asked myself and Mike Downie straight to our faces what we thought of the new logos after the event ended— more on that in a bit. But it was this straight-shooting, conversation-welcoming approach that has been such a hallmark of the Konya tenure so far, and as far as I can tell, it has endeared Konya to the Northeastern faithful.
Konya mentioned a handful of other nuggets pertinent to Huskies fans and those who support the program; there will be a new website coming in the near future that will see an overhaul of GoNU.com in both content as well as domain name. We the fans will have the opportunity to vote and help select the new domain name for the Northeastern athletics website, as Konya mentioned there are at least five domain names on the table that we will get to select from.
He also responded to a question that concerted efforts will be made to reach out to local communities, “subway alumni” in the area who may be interested in going to games, as well as reaching out to current students and organizations to garner interest and support among the current Northeastern student body. The current student body president was present at the event, and Konya gave a nod to the student sections as well. He appears very eager to enlist the help of students to help push the new brand and new marketing plan to various corners of the student body, an approach we have not seen at the school in many, many years. I think there is great potential to be tapped into if he follows through with that plan.
On a final note regarding what Konya said, he responded to an attendee’s question regarding the return of the Northeastern football program, which drew laughs from the crowd. To his credit, Konya gave a legitimate answer, saying that there is little-to-zero chance the school brings football back, largely due to the cost of a program like that. He gave an estimate of around $100 million needed to restart the program, which should put to rest anyone out there who is pining for the days of a lackluster football program returning to Huntington Avenue.
Thoughts on the Logos
We also got to see the new logo and the first look at the new logo on a hockey jersey when assistant captains Ryan Shea (men’s) and Kasidy Anderson (women’s) came to the stage to show off the new looks.
I am a big fan of the rebrand and the new logos. Overall, I think this is a great move and a success by Jeff Konya to create a consistent, modern brand for Northeastern athletics, and one that can stand the test of time and not need to be “updated” or changed in the near future. I think this primary logo, the King Husky one, is sharp, sleek, and easy to replicate on all types of uniforms and promotional material. I can picture it looking good whether on a hockey sweater, a swim cap, or a baseball jersey. That consistency is going to be a key part of building the new Northeastern brand, and I think this will go a long way. Additionally, I like that the department did not try and go for a WOW factor or shock value with the new logo, because over time, that impact and shock value will deteriorate. We see that with our beloved Devil Husky look, which was crafted in the 1980s but is not exactly well-received outside of hardcore hockey fans. This is a new logo that I can see on both Northeastern athletics as well as casual fan gear for many years to come.
One aspect I wish they kept was keeping some element of red in the main logo, however after reading through the Branding Guide that goes over the rules and guidelines for the new logos, we see that there certainly is room to add details and colors to the primary logo. Apparently, making the eyes red is out of the question according to the guidelines, so fans like me who are asking for some red may have to settle with a potential red outlines unless another avenue is found.
With regards to the secondary logos, I have come to really like the husky standing tall, especially when above a nice NORTHEASTERN font below it. It looks imposing, powerful, and regal, and I think as a secondary logo, it’s an excellent accent piece for jerseys, shirts, and marketing tools. It’s also unique; I can’t think of any other school that uses a whole Husky in a logo. It’s a logo that will be unique to Northeastern, and I love that. I also really like that they are keeping the paw as a secondary logo, though I hope they add some more color to it, which the guidelines show is a potential possibility. I am also a fan of circle logos, so seeing the new Husky head logo surrounded by “Northeastern University” and 1898 at the bottom, I like that look quite a bit. It will look great on merchandise.
For negatives, I am not a fan of the new “skinny N” that started as primarily an academic logo, and looks like it may make its way to athletics as well. To me, it just doesn’t look “athletic” enough, though as co-blogger Ryan Fallon mentioned, it’s not something that appears to be set to be put in the forefront of athletics use. So I will reserve judgement on the N-related logos until I see how they are used; quite frankly, the less for athletics purposes, the better in my opinion. Lastly, the inclusion of gold in any Northeastern Huskies logo should not be a possibility. It’s not heavily used, it’s not even prominent, but a school that has historically used red, black, and white as its colors, and that recently had a promotional hashtag called #RedBlackOnePack, does not need to go and add a fourth color to the mix simply to add one, in my eyes. Again, minimal use for gold, if it has to stay, would be best in my opinion.
All in all, I give this rebrand a solid 8/10 if I was rating it. I think the positives VASTLY out-weight the negatives, and I think that Konya will have great success with this new brand and this new marketing strategy.
One member of the college hockey world (well, former member of the college hockey world) was former Northeastern and Boston College SID and resident jersey guru Mark Majewski. Mark has long been an evaluator of college hockey jerseys, and I have tremendous respect for his work as an SID and his opinions on hockey sweaters:
We would love to hear more of your thoughts regarding the rebrand. Please follow and tweet at us @NUHockeyBlog, and consider coming and joining DieHardDogs.com, a pay-for-use fan forum where many hardcore, longtime Huskies fans discuss everything hockey, basketball, baseball, soccer, and other topics related to Huskies athletics. This topic is certainly hot-button, and we’d love to engage with you there or on Twitter.
The new brand and logo will debut in competition this Friday, and we are excited to see where Jeff Konya takes the new-look Northeastern Huskies in his first full year at the helm. Jeff has our full support, and we look forward to seeing continued Huskies success.
As always, go Huskies.
PS: It appears that GoNUxStream is also getting a rebrand with the new marketing plan, now called Howlin’ Huskies Productions. Naturally we worried about any compromising of the best streaming service in the nation, as well as any costs to the consumer, so I asked the nail-biting question, and was pleasantly responded to: