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UC Berkeley Task Force recommends Cal Berkeley as the new athletic brand name
Because of the athletic connotation of Cal and the university brand of Berkeley, the recommendation of the university task force is to merge the two together.
The University of California Berkeley task force assigned with merging the academic and athletic brands has released their recommendations.
Academics at UC Berkeley generally are known from the Berkeley moniker, and athletics are recognized under Cal. Thus, the committee recommended a merger of the two under Cal Berkeley for the athletic department. Academics would move toward a more Berkeley themed branding. The two brands were not allowed to merge identities for the longest time, leading to marketing conflicts and all sorts of needless infighting between administrators in both the university and athletic side.
Adopt a unified campus brand strategy and framework that allows the Berkeley and Cal identities to coexist in an interconnected ecosystem. The framework should include common elements such as colors, graphics and typography that establish unity across all campus contexts.
Evolve and elevate Berkeley as the principal campus brand. Lead with Berkeley in academic, administrative, auxiliary, community, development and student life contexts, especially in naming campus units. Update the logo to reflect this change and look for ways to establish a visual connection to the athletics identity.
Shift the athletics identity to Cal Berkeley in both name and logo. Develop a visual identity that clearly communicates this shift.
Define ways for Cal and Golden Bears to be used for community building within Berkeley contexts. Cal and Golden Bears may be used when naming athletic/fan offerings but not when naming institutional offerings.
Develop an implementation plan that drives impact but minimizes cost. Employ a “deplete and replace” strategy that prioritizes lower-cost and highest-visibility touchpoints first.
Cal is the known athletic brand for all UC Berkeley sporting activities. However it is not well-known nationally (66% polled nationally and 42% in the state of California did not realize Cal and UC Berkeley were one and the same) and has struggled with a lack of recognition compared to more well-known brands like Stanford, USC and UCLA.
California would fit their public school athletic contemporaries such as Texas, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, etc. But there is a genuine concern that California would suffer from the same issues as Cal—i.e., there are no clear ties back to Berkeley in the name.
UC Berkeley is by far the better known brand, but it’s solely known for its academics and has separated itself away from the athletic wing. So renaming Cal/California to UC Berkeley doesn’t make a ton of sense either as it would be a complete remodeling of the central identity of athletics on campus.
So Cal Berkeley is the compromise!
It’s a bit of a strange compromise since it’s not a name used much of anywhere compared to Cal or UC Berkeley. However, it is the simplest to merge the original academic and athletic brands to raise visibility of the university’s athletic profiles.
It should be noted that this is a policy recommendation. No further actions have been taken. There will likely be more discussions forthcoming before you see Cal Berkeley sweatshirts being printed out.
There is also a concern about the history of George Berkeley that the university will also be investigating. The full PDF is available here if you want to learn moe.
What are your thoughts on this recommendation?