Miami Marlins (Entertainment)
A professional sport has never witnessed a more rapid and successful franchise turnaround, from a marketing prospective, than that of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins have generated more buzz this year than in their combined 19-year existence in Major League Baseball. Ticket sales are through the roof and it is a direct result from their re-branding efforts.
The first implementation was naming Venezuelan-born, Ozzie Guillen the new manager of the team in September 2011. This move targeted the largely Hispanic population of Miami so that they would be able to identify with the team leader. Two months later the ball club changed its name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins, making the team more personal to the city. This strategic step was followed by the unveiling of their new-look uniforms and updated logo. The release created a PR buzz storm that put the spotlight back on Miami sports for the first time in a long time. The colorfully bright, sleek and modern designed apparel perfectly represented “the colors of Miami” and spoke to a younger generation of fans.
A month after the marketing bonanza, the team signed highly sought-after free agent, Jose Reyes, further increasing the Hispanic crowd’s interest in the team. The Marlins put the final stamp on the campaign package when the organization opened Marlins Park in March 2012. The new stadium is located much closer to Miami, only two miles from downtown and features a state of the art retractable roof. The structure of the roof provides protection from heavy, unpredictable rain showers that are frequent during the summer months in South Florida. It also offers flexibility, allowing the roof to be opened on temperate evenings. The inside of the stadium displays a bright green wall and an erected gigantic marlin structure in center field that lights up and splashes into a pool of rainbow water every time the “good guys” hit a homerun.
These offseason moves are the reason for the re-branding success of the Marlins. President David Samson says, “When it came to selling season tickets, the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium were beyond cellar dwellers last season in Major League Baseball…We were No. 125- counting minor league teams.” Now he states, “There is such a demand for groups and people coming from [places like] Naples and the Keys, and individual tickets are going so well. That’s part of the supply and demand that we’ve never been able to have.”
The Y (Non-profits)
Formerly known as the YMCA, the non-profit organization officially changed its name in July 2010 after being nicknamed “The Y” for decades. Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Kate Coleman says, “It’s a way of being warmer, more genuine, more welcoming, when you call yourself what everyone else calls you.” Chief Executive Jonah Disend of Redscout, a branding strategy company in New York, says that shortening brand names makes sense in the social media era with restrictions such a the 140-character limit practiced by Twitter, and apps for mobile phones. He says, “There’s a real need to make everything fit into a bite-size space.”
In order to keep up with the social craze of today’s digital world, The Y recently released mobile apps that enable users to locate the nearest facility, search group fitness schedules and setup aerobics classes, but many nonprofits have not fully embraced their innovative ways. The resistance stems from their displeasure with Apple, which prohibits the use of iPhone apps for fund-raising. The charitable group elevated their brand in the mobile industry and refreshed their image further with an emblematic makeover. The Y’s new logo sports warm color variations that represent diversity and welcomes membership in a way that the outdated, lugubrious design of the past could not.
Holiday Inn (Hotels)
The most notable hotel success story belongs to Holiday Inn. The hotel corporation underwent a renovation process that tremendously upgraded the look and feel of their properties. In 2007, IHG announced a worldwide re-launch of the Holiday Inn brand. The re-launch “focused on delivering consistently best in class service and physical quality levels, including a redesigned welcome experience [and] signature bedding and bathroom products,” according to IHG officials, and the transformation was completed by the end of 2010. Furthermore, they redesigned their logo, renovating the look to feel more clean and green. Its sleek and inviting design represented the progressive transformation of the brand.
Although the company offers a variety of stays such as Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Select and Holiday Inn Express, the most recognizable is the Holiday Inn. There are two distinct types: high-rise, full-service plaza hotels and low-rise, full-service hotels. The structure of the new-look hotels is still instantly recognizable, yet delightfully improved from the 1970s. Both types offer a restaurant, pools at most locations, room service, an exercise room and efficient, but relaxing rooms. However, it was the corporation’s devotion to customer service that elevated their status. Holiday Inn promised to be an “affordable luxury for the people,” which persuaded many business travelers to book rooms because the company no longer proclaimed itself to be simply a family hotel. Last year, Holiday Inn was top honoree for the mid-scale, full-service category in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.