Letter: Was a Stingers Rebrand Necessary?

I read with interest the recent article regarding the departure of the athletic director at Concordia.

The major claim to fame appears to be his rebranding initiative that was supposed to solve the problem of a “distinct lack of connectivity and engagement” that he perceived.

While I concur that this lack of connectivity and engagement exists, I am not convinced that spending inordinate amounts of money and investing large amounts of time and energy in “rebranding” and creating a new logo for the department was the answer.

Having spent 21 years coaching at Concordia, my perception is that this “lack of connectivity and engagement” is university-wide and not restricted to athletics. There is a distinct lack of pride and sense of belonging and no real sense of what it means to be a Concordian. There is a great deal of pride and belief in certain specific programs/projects/departments/activities, but no sense of how this contributes to being part of the whole or being a Concordian.

Something as simple as school colours need to be part of the life that students live while at Concordia. The bookstore sells garments clearly emblazoned with the logo of the university or the sports team, but in the colours of our rival universities across town or from other parts of the university.

Student-led Frosh activities, that should form the basis of what it means to be a Concordian, hand out articles of clothing in every colour under the sun. The opportunity to start new students at the university off on the right foot, with respect to being part of the “Maroon and Gold,” are completely missed. Various teams from many of the departments within the university go out to represent Concordia at a variety of different games and competitions around the world (and do so with great success), yet they lack the identity of being Concordian in that they wear any and all colours of the rainbow whilst doing so.

I am convinced that what is needed is not a new brand, but rather a better job and more coordinated effort throughout the university selling the brand that we already have. Time will tell, I guess, whether the new brand changes things for the better for the university or if it was simply an opportunity for a line on a résumé and a talking point in interviews for somebody.

Clive Gibson is the former head coach of the Concordia Stingers Men’s Rubgy team.