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Cal vs. California vs. UC Berkeley vs. Cal Berkeley vs. Berkeley: Which one is best?
The University of California task force recommended Cal Berkeley. What is your recommendation and why?
After the release of the university branding report that recommended Cal Berkeley as the way forward for athletics and Berkeley for academics, there was heated conversation about what would be the best name forward.
As is usual, there was no consensus about what name made the best sense for all cases.
Let’s roll through the options and initial feedback of the Cal Berkeley recommendation.
Pros: It’s the most recognizable athletic brand name and has been for most of the last decades. It’s been on our football helmets for decades, it lines most of our merchandising, and is the way most college sports fans recognize our athletic program. And it maintains the status quo for the program, so minimal rebranding is required.
Cons: A plurality of individuals don’t recognize that Cal and UC Berkeley are the same school, which puts them behind the eight-ball compared to other schools like Stanford, USC and UCLA.
Initial reactions favoring Cal
This is terrible
Hasn’t Cal (CAL!!!) suffered enough in the past few weeks? Don’t make my parents roll in their cremated ashes.
University task forces exist to waste time and money coming up with stupid a** ideas. Flagship universities in every state go by the state name. End of story. If anyone proposes eliminating the script Cal, I will resort to violence.
I guarantee you my friend (pictured below) will NOT be repainting his T-Bear!
Pros: It puts us on the same level playing field as other flagship public universities of their states, like Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington. California could be the new brand that really differentiates us from our peers.
Cons: California is only occasionally used to refer to our program or university these days, and again suffers from the same problem that it isn’t instantly recognizable as being the same school as Cal or UC Berkeley. It would take again time to make that reset happen and raise awareness for this reset.
Initial reactions favoring California
The task force failed. California would have done it. Heck, look at the end zone graphics.
I was hoping straight up “California” would be the decision. No Cal, no Berkeley. Ah well.
We should just be California in all things.
For academic things, just add “(Berkeley)” for the next 10 years and then phase it out.
It's The University of California. They are the first that should be the rebrand, keep Cal on the football helmets and use California script more on basketball unis etc. I mean come on people it's not rocket science it shouldn't take long for people to figure out if they care to
Pros: This is the default name of the university at this point, and easily the most well-known way to refer to our campus. UC Berkeley is well-known throughout the world as one of the core six world universities along with Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge.
Cons: There are decades of academic and athletic separation that would require time to untangle and bring back together. It was nearly impossible for the athletic department to refer to Berkeley in their marketing of the sports teams, and vice-versa with academics referring to Cal. Resolving that protracted battle will take time.
Initial reactions favoring UC Berkeley
IMO it's foolish that there are guidelines not allowing UC Berkeley to be mentioned in regard to athletics. California is in the full name of the school, so there shouldn't be an issue keeping the Cal moniker for sports. The academia/sports guidelines made branding LESS clear. We should be marketing that UC Berkeley = Cal, not shying away from it.
no clue why they insist we keep "UC Berkeley" separate from Athletics. We discover we're the only school that does that*, we create a task force to study the stupid, self-inflicted injury, and we come up with something no one's going to be happy with. Just tear down the damn barrier and be done with it. Put "Berkeley" on some away uniforms and in one of our end zones.
The people who know the script Cal logo know that it represents the University of California at Berkeley, and that the campus is located in Berkeley, California. We are known as Cal, Berkeley, or UC Berkeley. There’s no need to rebrand the school as “Cal Berkeley”.
It is if you don't follow sports... literally no one I've ever met in the academic world says they earned their degree from Cal. They say they went to UC Berkeley...
Pros: Berkeley has in the last few decades far surpassed Cal as the best way to identify our university for younger generations, even over UC Berkeley. it would be the easiest to remember, and the simplest name change to help students and younger fans to understand which school we are.
Cons: It is unclear that we’d want the perception of the athletic program to be associated with a city whose citizens are often engaged in protracted civil conflict with the university and its students. And it’s unclear how long the city of Berkeley will remain a viable brand name for our university, given the troubled history of George Berkeley as a slaveholder.
Initial reactions favoring Berkeley
It should just be Berkeley. Unlike the other state schools we have another big national university in the system with UCLA. It’s delusional and confusing to continue to call ourselves California or even Cal and expect people to know who we are. We need to let it go.
either way, the athletic teams need to have “berkeley” somewhere on their branding to associate it with cal, and they need to allow cal bear/oski merch to say berkeley. berkeley bears sounds fire imo. you can still call it cal. no one’s saying you can’t. but branding it with berkeley as well solves the issues of no one knowing what cal is
The problem is Berkeley is insanely powerful in academic circles. “Berkeley” is one of the big six world universities that always sit atop the world research rankings. Even my non-college educated grandma in China knows “Berkeley” is a good school. To her “California” is just a place where beef noodles come from (it’s like the reverse fortune cookie myth in China).
Coming from the Midwest (years ago) I can tell you that casual sports fans know about the lesser pac12 (well, former pac12) teams the way the casual fans know about Minnesota, Iowa, and Miami Ohio. That is, they might know "Cal" exists, but no one thinks about it.
However, everyone knows Berkeley, even if they have no idea where it is. Some people know it as the hippie school (though fewer people these days). Most know it's smart and liberal.
"Cal Berkeley" would be a good way to smear a great academic name with an unknown shitty athletic brand.
Either rebrand the athletics as Berkeley (where it will have the same kind of good school/shit football recognition as Northwestern) or leave it alone and let people go "oh shit, Cal is Berkeley? Oh, maybe I knew that" every 8 or 9 years like they do now.
Pros: It marries the Berkeley brand to the Cal brand and makes it easier to lump the two together as the same. People who are aware of Cal but not aware of Berkeley (and vice-versa) will understand the two are the same. It simplifies a lot of these issues and provides us with a unified brand that raises maximum awareness that Cal and Berkeley are one.
Cons: It is an entirely new brand that is not often used by anyone anywhere that is a Cal alum or student, so it would require an entire new mindset refresh to make this name stick. Also Cal Berkeley isn’t easily identified as a UC school. It sounds very close to the Cal State Berkeley naming that is derisively used by our rivals.
Initial reactions favoring Cal Berkeley
Welp I’ve had to use CAL Berkeley for decades when referring to football & the university. Folks outside of California don’t know what CAL is. When I say CAL they think I’m talking about UCLA. They know the name Berkeley tho. So I agree with this decision.
Everyone on the east coast thinks of the Berklee College of Music when I tell them I went to Berkeley, it’s happened a lot. Everyone on the west coast knows i’m referring to the UC. No perfect solution, Cal Berkeley seems like the best option for athletics. I say UC Berkeley when referring to the school.
It's close to what I'd recommend, with "Cal" or "California" as the primary athletic branding but "Berkeley" as a secondary logo on uniform/field/court designs.
Am I the only one who wouldn’t mind this re-brand? Seems to be the clearest way to integrate our athletic and academic brands. In a vacuum, I like the idea of “California” (a la Michigan), but that wouldn’t solve the problem of outside fans not realizing we’re UC Berkeley.
What are your thoughts on the brand we should use and why?