Football fans around the globe cherish the Bundesliga for compelling matches that average more goals per game than any other top football league worldwide. Yet football made in Germany can score big off the pitch as well: The recent brand refresh of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 has taken design and marketing experts by storm.
The DFL took centre stage at the prestigious 2018 “German Brand Award” when the Bundesliga was crowned “Digital Brand of the Year” and earned the coveted prize “Best of Best” in the “Excellence in Branding” category. The annual “German Brand Award” is presented by the German Design Council and the German Brand Institute, honouring extraordinary achievements in branding success, brand management, and sustainable brand communication.
One of the core elements of the brand refresh is the updated logo design. As the linchpin of brand recognition, the logo serves as a focal point for web-based fan interaction. According to eye-tracking research conducted at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, logos attracted the most interest from website viewers before those moved on to another section of the page. On average, users spent about 6.5 seconds on the logo (followed by approximately 6.4 seconds on the main menu). Because the logo draws such high interest while also being a core factor in fan attachment to a brand, a winning logo that appeals to broad audiences is crucial, not only to the brand, but also to the partners and sponsors associated with it.
Equally important, in an increasingly mobile world – mobile web usage has overtaken fixed internet access, and the gap is widening – a logo that optimises frame rate while being sleek, easily recognisable, and scalable is paramount. The refined Bundesliga logo fits this bill perfectly while it also adapts well to on-air graphics across screens of varying sizes and resolutions. Versatility is key, for the logo, the adapted fonts, and the colour scheme.
With the new look that focused specifically on the optimisation for all platforms, DFL maintained the history and heritage of the Bundesliga brand, while it adapted to current and future technological advancement and shifting patterns in media use. The “German Brand Award” jury emphasized the importance of this future-forward perspective in its decision: “The extensive revamp by the DFL paid close attention to every aspect and focused on digital media with their high technical standards just as much as on conventional print materials.”
The refreshed look, introduced for the 2017-18 season, included updated, more mobile-friendly logos, a new typography, improved colour palette, key visuals, on-air graphics, on-air opener, motion graphics kits, website, apps, and social media profiles. Several million football fans interact with DFL brands every day worldwide. The DFL’s Corporate and Brand Communications Directorate is responsible for the global image of the Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2 and DFL. Back in 2012, the DFL set up DFL Digital Sports, a centre of expertise in which the “Visual Design” department is also a key pillar – the new brand look was created there during a 15-month process.
Because of Bundesliga’s global appeal, the cross-cultural, multi-continental brand refresh acceptance directly benefits DFL’s partners and sponsors in the various markets. Brand association with the Bundesliga through sponsoring or partnership possesses transformative power that is capable of significantly increasing brand awareness and affinity. Consumer reach and influence of brand partnership often result in measurable success. A “Partner Alliances” report revealed that 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies attributed up to 26 percent of their growth to brand partnerships.
The “German Brand Award” laurels fall in line with previous award successes for the league’s fresh new look. Recently, the DFL was also among the winners at the “Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018“ and the rebrand previously claimed a nomination in PromaxBDA’s Top Ten Rebrands 2017, ranking sixth overall among the best marketers and designers worldwide, thus proving that the sleek new appearance is successful across a broad variety of countries and cultures.