Joe Mansueto knows Fire must get next logo right

Three logos in four years isn’t an optimal way to build a brand. That’s just one of the reasons the Fire must make sure they ace their next rebrand.

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Fire owner Joe Mansueto greets a fan during the news conference announcing the team’s move back to Soldier Field.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Three logos in four years isn’t an optimal way to build a brand. That’s just one of the reasons the Fire must make sure they ace their next rebrand.

“It’s hugely important,” Fire owner Joe Mansueto told the Sun-Times this week during a wide-ranging interview. “We need to get it right. We made one change, which is not that unusual. What’s unusual is to make two changes, that you introduce something and it’s not quite the right fit.”

The Fire are making another change because the logo they revealed in November 2019 was incredibly poorly received. Instead of the team marking a new era as it moved back to Soldier Field, it drew fans’ wrath for the oval-shaped mark with the so-called Fire crown, and many pined for the franchise’s original florian cross-inspired crest.

The logo was a notable off-the-field error by the Fire while they made other business-side moves that were largely applauded after Mansueto bought out Andrew Hauptman in September 2019. Adding WGN-TV to the streaming ESPN+ broadcast got the Fire onto a local station known for sports, and the franchise clearly added to its marketing arm with slick videos and campaigns that were a hit on social media. The team has also avoided layoffs and furloughs with its office staff, even as the pandemic has locked fans out of Soldier Field and diminished revenue.

Meanwhile, Mansueto was keenly aware of how the logo was initially received but wanted to give everyone a chance to get accustomed to it. That never happened, and Mansueto said there was a gradual realization the logo wouldn’t last, with the final decision coming about a month ago.

Now with the help of supporters, the logo will be tweaked again. Mansueto is looking forward to seeing the process unfold and hopes the result will stick around. 

“Once you realize [a logo is] not a good fit, you can do two things: You can kind of let it go on and kind of live with something that doesn’t quite fit right,” Mansueto said. “Or you can say, ‘Hey, we tried, and it didn’t work. We’re going to try again.’ But this time, we need to get it right.”

Clearly, the process will be different than the 2019 rebrand that leaked on social media before it was unveiled. Hopefully, so is the result.

“I think there’s been a lot of learning in the first go-around,” Mansueto said. “We’ve got more time to get it right this time. We’re going to get a lot of fan input, we’re starting the roundtables soon with fans. We’ve asked fans for submissions, ‘Give us your feedback.’ We want the fan base very much engaged in the whole process, and we’re going to try to make it fun. A very open, transparent process. 

“This is not a few people behind closed doors coming up with something. This is an open, transparent process where the fans are engaged. I think we’re going to be very thoughtful.”

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