Branding: A legendary creature of gigantic proportions.

How the NHL’s new Seattle Kraken name unveiling shows it’s more than just a myth.


This week, two major league sports expansion teams unveiled their new team names and logos. The newest NHL franchise in Seattle, WA and the newly “minted” Charlotte FC in the MLS. That’s Major League Soccer for the uncultured.  


Releasing a new team name/logo into the wild after years of planning and build-up is exciting in sports.  However, In my opinion, names, much like in business, can be great yes but can also be irrelevant. It’s more about the makeup, the message, and the soul of an organization that makes the name. This is where a lot of companies make the mistake, and these two events are perfect examples of where it’s done right, and where it can be done wrong.  


Let’s start with the wrong. 


Charlotte’s new team is called Charlottle FC and the logo is done well, professional, clean, similar name and logo for MLS or soccer teams that to be fair, traditionally have subdued names and logos. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the design or launch, but that’s it. That’s the name. I’m not sure there are any other superlatives my mind can conjure up without blowing smoke or being a fanboy. What I gathered is that It’s a team, they play soccer in Charlotte, oh and they have a crown for “Queen City” but I’m not even sure why that’s a thing.

See what Charlotte did is they didn’t put much value in the brand story. I’m sure they will be fine, the name and logo checks boxes, they will be somewhat successful and sell some merch and get some people to a few games. But I don’t want my team or my company brand to be “ok”, I don’t want it to “checkboxes”. I want it to be different. I want it to be special. 


Let’s talk about special. 


The Seattle Kraken. To be honest, “Kraken” is really cool but a little overused these days so the coolness has worn off but remember what I said about names. It’s what they did and how they did it that makes the name. 


They didn’t just design a logo, they created a brand. Apologies for the overused and now cringe-worthy phrase, but they told a story. Yes the logo and video are better produced and they definitely hired an outside agency but that’s not the point. In two videos and a logo animation, the same as Charlotte provided, they showed Seattle’s character, hinted at the history of hockey in the area, and nailed the grit of the seaport and vibe of the city. They showed me what the team and name is all about and gave fans a brand they can identify with and much more to get excited about. I’m 3 hours from Charlotte, never been to Seattle, like soccer way more than hockey and I’m 10x more into the Kraken right now than I am Charlotte. 


Don’t undervalue creating a brand. It’s more than a clean logo and good colors. Your brand should be something customers want to get behind. We want the brands we buy from and the teams we pull for to be just like our tall tales and mythos.


We want them to be real.