(how did Clipper Darryl escape the rebranding discussion?)
While there’s no shortage of voices suggesting Daniel Snyder abandon the Redskins name, the LA Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth is, I believe, the first person to advise Donald Sterling to change the name of the Los Angeles Clippers. Calling the franchise, “a dysfunctional collection of Gilligans on the SS Minnow, from Benoit Benjamin to Wang ZhiZhi, with every other Olowokandi, Korolev and Closs in between,” Hoffarth proceeds to poll a number of NBA luminaries (including but not limited to Ralph Lawler, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley) all of whom think, well, it’s a stupid idea. Eventually, however, Hoffarth found a great mind that thought alike in the skull of David E. Johnson, CEO of “crisis communications” experts, Strategic Vision.
“People will always think of the Clippers of the past, as the poor stepchild (next to the Lakers), because it’s too embedded in the public perception,” Johnson said.
“If I was giving them advice, I say make a clean break from that stereotype and re-introduce yourself. Establish your own brand DNA. Establish a new story to tell, a new vision of who you are, where you’re going. Sell your new rationale.
“Start by giving fans ownership of a new name by polling them. Find a local artist, or have a contest with kids, to develop a new logo. Even if they’re not fans of the team, they’ll get excited with this creative rebirth and rebranding process.
“We’ve seen this with tech companies, lifestyle companies. It’s working already in New Orleans. You sell it to ownership by showing how this is also a great way of merchandising, and you’ll see a great return on your investment. Put it in brisk terms.”
Hoffarth then points out that Johnson’s company has — what’s the nice way of putting it? —- zero credibility whatsoever. NEVER MIND.