CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The America East Conference launched its new logo, look and brand identity today, the culmination of a yearlong process that examined the conference’s position within the collegiate sports landscape, with the aim of articulating a renewed direction for the conference and its member institutions.
The new brand is built upon the three pillars of the complete student-athlete: academic achievement, athletic excellence, and leadership on and off the field. The America East provides member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of these three pillars.
The league’s new tagline, “Building the Complete Student-Athlete,” represents the commitment of each member institution to building a collegiate experience for its student-athletes based upon the three pillars, which will ultimately position them for continued success beyond their collegiate years. The conference will engage in a renewed effort to champion the student-athlete and emphasize the success in all three pillars of the student-athlete experience.
“The new America East brand is far more than just a logo or tagline,” said Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “The brand captures the core of our collective institutional values regarding athletics and what is most important…the student-athlete experience Our new mark and new colors usher in a new era for the conference, built on the outstanding tradition of the past, but elevating us in a new direction for the future.”
The league office and its member institutions worked with SME, Inc. for the project. SME is a renowned strategic brand development firm and has been involved with the rebranding of the Pac-12 Conference, Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference among other prominent collegiate and professional sports properties.
"The America East Conference represents some of collegiate sports' most venerable and respected institutions and competitors. Our challenge was to uncover the essence of these combined schools through diligent research and discovery. The idea of the complete student-athlete represents an homage to the pure purpose of collegiate athletics and communicates the conference's intent to truly 'walk the talk' and champion development on both the athletic and academic sides," explained Ed O' Hara, Senior Partner at SME, "This message lent itself to a youthful and progressive look and feel that's relevant to this target audience."
SME conducted comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research with key stakeholders such as presidents, athletic directors, senior woman administrators, faculty athletic representatives, coaches, current student-athletes, current students, alumni, media and other conference partners. The research findings uncovered perceptions, values, attributes and aspirations on which the new brand strategy was developed. With the many challenges facing intercollegiate athletics today, the strategy sought to establish a foundation for the America East that was values-based in order to withstand the shifting landscape, while also being progressive and forward-thinking.
“SME did an outstanding job capturing the essence of what it is to be a member of the America East Conference,” said Stony Brook President Samuel Stanley. “We value academics, we enjoy athletics and we prepare our students for leadership roles. The new brand messaging emphasizes those aspects and the vision we have moving forward.”
The new America East Conference logo represents both the three pillars of the complete student-athlete and the league’s new, bold direction. The block “A” surrounds three white stripes that represent the pillars. The logo also has a forward-leaning trajectory representing the progressive and forward-thinking approach of the conference. This new direction is also represented in the color scheme of dark blue, light blue and white, wavering from the traditional red, white and blue.
A unique element with the redesigned logo is that America East institutions will have increased ownership of the conference brand, as it has been designed in all of the school’s official colors. The new logo will appear on uniforms, fields and playing courts in each university’s colors.
About the America East Conference
The America East Conference provides members schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field. Now in its fourth decade of existence, the conference has evolved into one of the most comprehensive Division I conferences in the country and is progressive in its approach to its more than 3,400 student-athletes. America East recognizes champions in each of its 19 sports and consists of members spanning from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast regions of the United States including: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.
SME (http://www.smebranding.com) is an independent strategic branding, advertising, marketing and digital agency, specializing in connecting with audiences through powerful identity development, digital strategy, advertising and social media engagement. Founded in 1989, SME enjoys a stellar worldwide reputation of creative excellence, thought leadership and client service. The agency has four practice areas: Higher Education and Non-Profit, Consumer Goods, Sports and Entertainment and Business to Business Ventures. SME’s client list includes some of the leading brands in higher education and global entertainment including The New York Yankees, Pac 12, ACC, Madison Square Garden Company, Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Miami Marlins, University of Louisville and many more.