WMU defends decision to reduce Bronco logo use

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University is defending its decision to use the Bronco logo less often and consolidate logos.

Tony Proudfoot, the vice president of Marketing and Strategic Communications for WMU, says the Bronco logo will remain as a secondary mark.

“Western Michigan University had five logos, seven colors,” Proudfoot said. “Strong universities don’t do that. They really focus on having one identity. People see that logo and they see it run out on the field.”

Jon Blackmore, an alumnus who started the ghostbronco.com website and online petition, says the university should use the Bronco logo more and build off the success of the football program established during the era of former coach P.J. Fleck.

“It’s really a marketing failure around not being able to take advantage of what’s being done in the past where we could rally around and get an identity and logo,” Blackmore said. “Nobody likes this thing. Whether it’s students, faculty, alumni especially.”

The university posted a video on YouTube explaining its strategy to consolidate logos, but Blackmore feels Western should have consulted more people in the process.

“There hasn’t necessarily been a formal announcement or something to get excited about,” Blackmore said.

The criticism recently grew on social media when the Bronco logo was replaced with a “W” on the rink of the campus ice arena.

Proudfoot says the Bronco logo is not being eliminated.

“You’ll still very much be able to see the Bronco on uniforms, on athletic advertising as a graphic, when we score a touchdown or score a goal,” Proudfoot said.

He says WMU went through an extensive process to work with the athletic department and the university community on the logo decisions.

“We talked to student-athletes, we talked to students,” Proudfoot said. “The team who built this out are actually comprised of alumni.”

Blackmore believes the process is missing out on the opportunity to take advantage of the established familiarity of the Bronco logo.

“We kind of go into this new era of marketing with this new logo and new brand refresh and now, just all of that good work over the last 10, 20 years has been thrown away,” Blackmore said.

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