Identity, and The Curious Case of The Reading Phillies

Because nothing says ‘Reading’ like an Ostrich.  (Image via

When I was a kid, I spent countless hours drawing and doodling sports logos. With each ‘project’, I’d add new wrinkles to my favorite team’s current logos, uniforms, and color schemes. I was always so proud to show off my creations to my parents and classmates, explaining the stories and reasonings behind the creations. I didn’t know the term at the time, but I was immersed in the world of branding.

With that said, some pretty big news came out of Reading, PA over the weekend. The Reading Phillies, the Double-A Affiliate of the Major League Philadelphia Phillies, retooled their identity…and I’m not sure it was for the betterment of the club. What were they trying to say?

The artwork on its own is strong. The uniforms will inspire new texture patterns around the whole of baseball. But for the Reading- now “Fightin’ Phils” – franchise, their fans are now just as confused and displaced as their current uniform set.

Identity is a vital piece of any business, whether you’re a minor league baseball club or a silverware manufacturer. It’s the first piece of communication between your organization and consumers. As the Reading Fightin’s now know, first impressions mean quite a bit.

7 Hats…Why Not Zoidberg? (Image via

Having a logo and a color scheme doesn’t simply equal an identity or qualify as a brand.

Social communications place new value on the humanization of branding. Brands must be aware of how their words, responses, and relevance- in addition to their imaging- reflects upon their identity. Without this awareness, companies are likely to miss the grade online by not being self-conscious about their actions. Those that aren’t aware may alienate their fan-base, creating issues that could have been prevented with proper listening, voicing, and branding.

Does your current identity represent your organization properly?


Social Media Manager for Pet360, former Social Media Swiss Army Knife and Storyteller for True Voice Media. I'll help you craft the story if you introduce me to the characters. Deeply devout Flyers fan and avid Wiffleball enthusiast. Say hello on twitter, @jwsteiert!