New York Institute of Technology, Rah, Rah, Rah


Refreshing “The Meatball”

We’ve concluded that the best way to blog-on about, “Evolving an athletic department brand” at an academic institute, is to dig into one we actually did. Welcome to the New York Institute of Technology, the proud home of The Bears, ultimately and sadly, also known as, “The Meatball.” It didn’t take too much research or intuitive savvy to quickly realize that calling your school’s mascot, the fierce and majestic bear, a Meatball, was a problem. 

Taking a step back

NYIT had recently gone through an institutional brand upgrade, but the athletic department had not been properly addressed. Athletic departments, for better or worse, carry a great deal of weight in terms of academic brand awareness, recruitment, marketing reach and public relations. The institute’s identity is displayed and delivered most frequently by a wide number of athletic teams, chanting fans, proud parents and hopeful students. Plus, other legitimate stakeholders included, booster, alumni and donor associations. The athletic department is the face of the school. NYIT’s face was The Meatball, and that needed to change. We received an RFP (Request For Proposal), submitted our estimate, creative examples and capabilities, and thankfully, it was Go Bears—we were in.


Getting our bearings (sorry about that)

In order to do the Meatball/Bear justice, we embarked on our discovery phase with competitive analysis, brand history research, and gauging perception among various audiences. In addition, we aimed to make the athletic department’s adaption of NYIT new primary brand highly complementary and clearly elevated. And lastly, Under Armor. As an athletic program sponsored by Under Armor, we needed to make certain that we were within their graphic and legal guidelines. 


Build A Bear

Hmmmm, should our bear be growling? Should teeth be bared? Should paws be threatening the viewer? Should blood be dripping from his or her snarling mouth? (We quickly and wisely ruled out blood.) Safe to say, many choices needed to be made. Thanks to a thorough brand foundation and relying on our extensive conversations with the client, those choices became clearer with every step. Particular care needed to be applied, as an athletic department’s logo lands on so many potential surfaces, in such a variety of manifestations. From cotton hoodies, helmets, shorts, banners, and jerseys to end zones, hardwood courts, center ice, and the bottom of a swimming pool. 


Badass Bear released into the wild

No more “Meatball.” No one would possibly dare utter that moniker again. This proud and ferocious omnivore has reemerged from a long hibernation of neglect. We made certain to honor the past, build for the future, and impress right now. Go Bears Go!


Academically yours,

Team Sussner


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