MLS Players Association Launches New Brand
The MLS Players Association, formerly known as the MLS Players Union, has completed a rebranding effort that includes a new tagline, updated logo and new brand messaging in addition to the name change. Brolik partnered with the MLSPA to reimagine their brand.
The MLSPA Rebrand Video
The video features the voices of the MLSPA staff, board members of the organization and members of the Brolik team. It provides an insight into the new brand and into the strength and commitment of the organization it was designed to represent.
As part of the rebrand, the MLSPU shifted to MLSPA. The change from Players Union to Players Association does not signify a change in the core mission of the organization. Rather, it is a move that reflects a broadening of scope and a recommitment of the membership to the mission.
“The name change is a move to more closely align our organization with the other player associations and an opportunity to signal the period of growth we are experiencing.”
The Branding Process
The new logo was designed in an effort to pay homage to the past while moving the Players Association into the future. The central element, carried over from the previous logo, is the interlocking arms of the players, demonstrating the unity and brotherhood that is vital to the organization's success.
“It was important that the update of the logo was treated as an evolution rather than a stark change. We wanted it to be clear that the organization is growing and expanding our capabilities and strength while at the same time affirming our commitment to the central mission we have had from day one.”
Brolik began this process with a deep dive into the organization, interviewing key staff including players of the MLS. This was followed by an audit of other major players associations, reviewing their brands, messaging and marketing presences to form a clear picture of where the MLSPA fit into the landscape.
We approach the branding process as a large funnel: starting with a wide breadth of design directions, allowing for iteration, critique, and refining. The first design round was spent exploring a few key directions, including a modern and minimalist translation of the existing brand, a player focused direction, a straightforward refresh of the existing brand, and an abstract representation of the union.
It was clear that the minimalist translation of the existing brand was the best fit into the aesthetics of the sport and culture. The minimalist crest was modern and classy, and continued to exemplify the concepts of unity and solidarity that is so important to the MLSPA organization.
With a strong direction chosen for the second design round, the focus was refining the details. We explored every aspect of the final mark, examining the shape of the crest, color, and line-weight amongst several other visual details resulting in hundreds of different variations of the final output.
The final brand is rooted in the past while positioning the MLSPA for a bright future. In the updated mark, the original concept is transformed into a more modern and minimalist design that retains the core meaning and nods to the game of soccer.
“At the end of the day, even though we've rebranded nothing has changed. Our mission is clear.”
Brand Positioning and Messaging
The research phase helped Brolik form a clear understanding of what the MLSPA stood for, and what they needed to communicate to their audience. We distilled the key reasons for the association's existence into three clear ideas.
Unifying the Players
We support and protect the player community, encouraging mentorship and togetherness that crosses the boundaries of different cultures and teams.
We amplify the voice of the players by encouraging cooperation and coordinating efforts within the player community.
Building a Legacy
We strive to be the catalyst for positive change in the lives of past, current and future players, both on and off the field.
While this helped to form a strong background to the organizations messaging architecture, the most important goal of brand and marketing communication is to simplify the message as much as possible, so we needed to take it a step farther towards the core of what the MLSPA really is.
Brolik developed a full messaging framework around these ideas, helping the organization to simply and consistently communicate to their audience the most important aspects of their purpose and mission.
“We see a brand as a whole lot more than just a color scheme and a logo. We start with the messaging pillars. We think about how the brand communicates at every touch point.”
Chapter 2: The Website
Following the rebrand, Brolik started the process of designing a new website for the MLSPA. Along with an overall visual refresh, there were a few specific objectives outlined during the planning process.
Goal 1Present the new brand aesthetic, positioning and messaging
Goal 2Build the foundation for a scalable news section
The MLSPA's best asset is their access to the players and therefore we wanted to create a robust news section to feature their player focused content.
Goal 3Develop a resource section and interactive salary guide
“Brolik has proven to be consistently insightful, reliable and flexible. Their passion for what they do has been evident at each stage of our work together, and I look forward to the start of our next project.”