Changing a team name

We, team 3573, were rookies this year under the name Ohms. Now we have a split where some members of the team want to switch to a different name because the original name is too close to another rookie team in our region and not silly/cool enough. Note that the team has existed previously at the school but has never had a name/nickname in the FIRST sense before.

I’m trying not to make the decision for them (the team is split) but I’d like some feedback from others on pros and cons.

I remember you guys from Peachtree!
My team changed our name after our rookie year from C.Y.B.E.R. to our current name. It was, perhaps, one of the best decisions we have ever made.

In your case, think about if members of your community, school, other FIRST teams remember or recognize you. Being remembered is a key part of your team identity. Just because you have a similar name as another team doesn’t mean that you should change it to stand out. If you market yourselves right, you will stand out. (E.g. We go to a regional where there is another team with the same team colors as us. However, we are still known as ‘the purple team’.) In your case you could do some cool things with resistor codes such as have scavenger hunts at regionals, offer to translate other team’s numbers in resistor code, etc.

Here are now some pros and cons.

  • You get an almost fresh start at competition
  • You get a chance to use what you know about competition and incorporate it into your marketing


  • Teams will not remember you at all
  • You have to as hard as your rookie year to be remembered

Personally, I remember your team because:

  1. I talked to one of your members about your logo
  2. I saw all of you scouting
  3. You made it into the semi-finals.

While it is great if a team can create a memorable name and image as a rookie, there is nothing wrong with redefining a team’s through a name and image change, especially after the first year. Some teams change their image every year and some teams change their name periodically based on the wishes of the school or sponsoring organization.

Hall of Fame team, Team 120 - “Scarabian Knights,” is a great example of this.
When they started the team way back in 1995, they started out with Frog in their name (and orange as their color). I’m not sure when they made their transition to the new name, but its a part of their identity now. Even so, they periodically decide how they will represent their team; for a few years it was with an Egyptian theme to pick up on the Scarab part, this year was more of a knight theme.

So feel free to change it up until it clicks!

We went through a similar thing. In our first three year we had three different names, each with different colors. It was hard because we weren’t getting our brand established and people couldn’t re-use stuff like shirts and spirit equipment. Finally we picked a name (Combustion) and a bright color (electric blue) and stuck with it. My advice would be that if you want to change it, change it now and stick with it forever. You can get away fairly easily as rookies with changing you team appearance but once people get to know you, its really hard.

I was considering the same for our rookie team. “Don Bots” is a little bland. Our school mascot is the Don, and we made a 'bot. Not too creative. But if the students make the choice I think you should stick with it. Just lay out those pros and cons listed about and call a vote.

Thanks for the rapid feedback - senior finals are done so I have time to deal with this type of things now.

Marketing is of course the big issue. We’ve received lots of positive feedback on our use of resistor codes already as the Ohms. The other choice, Ninjineers, is sort of catchy but a half the team thinks that it sounds too young/silly to be marketing it to people outside of a school setting.

I’m leaning towards just keeping Ohms but gaining a Ninjineer mascot.

Oh come on, I’m sure you can find a giant resistor costume somewhere. Or better yet, you can get a light bulb and it can flaunt its variable resistance.

  • Sunny G.

Ninjineer is a pretty cool name, and will have a lot of recognition.

Probably the most famous name change has to be 217 - the Thunderchickens. Basically everyone knows the name now, but that is (I believe) the third name for that team, and the one that finally stuck.

217 was originally “Team Macomb” in 1999.

For the 2000 season, 217 changed their name to “Royal Fusion”.

217 finally changed their name to the Thunderchickens around 2002 - Paul will have to give the final answer on the date.

For the Thunderchickens, the name change worked out pretty well. A unique name with brand recognition could be a good thing.

My observation of team themes has been that ninjas are rapidly going the way of pirates and knights - there are a lot of teams across the country using them, and it’s getting harder to make a memorably different team on that theme. It can be done - we managed to do it with knights by going the Monty Python route - but your current theme is a lot less common in the larger First community.

Based on the logo in your avatar, you already appear to have a pretty strong marketing identity as Ohms, and it looks pretty cool. My personal opinion here is that if you have a strong identity that is easy to market, you should stick with it. Teams that have had inconsistent or weak imagery or are using one of the really common themes without strong differentiation really gain more from a change. On the other hand, you are the ones that have to live with it, and if the team isn’t feeling it, it’s better to do it now while you are still fairly new.

For the sake of gaining a slightly different perspective, I’d like to share some of the debate that happened on our team. While I don’t necessarily agree with this, our head mentor said that you shouldn’t have a weird or silly name unless you can back it up as a good team. Teams like the Thunderchickens and Exploding Bacon are examples of this. He said that a team that isn’t as successful just loses respectability, which can be tough on a team like ours which is struggling to find a financial sponsor.

My own perspective is that a unique name has very little correlation to respectability. If anything, I’d say that it actually helps a team stand out to potential sponsors and the community at large and even makes the experience more enjoyable for students. I think everyone on our team has wished at some point they could come up with a cheer like “Oink! Oink! Boom!”

So, food for thought.

If you are going to change, now would be the time before you become well known. About four years after we started we tried wearing bowling shirts one year. This was a terrible idea when people were trying to find the tie dye. I can’t think of how bad it would be if we changed names now.
However, I think your avatar is really cool!

Personally, when I saw that team name, I thought it was one of the coolest ever. That said, considering the source (me), that is probably not the best endorsement for the name. :slight_smile: I think it is very silly with a lot of fun potential.

FRC 1477 out of the Woodlands, Texas, changed their name a few years back to Texas Torque. It has been a very positive change for them as they travel down the road towards successful achievements and recognition.

Good luck to you and the team with your decision. Please let us know what you decide.

Now I have to go meditate on this whole discussion. (It was Al’s comment about 111 and bowling shirts that did me in.)


Ohlms => Ohlms’ Law => Ohlms’ Claw => Gigantic crabs with robot manipulators anyone? Could be cool or it could be time for a nice long weekend break far away from the computer. :ahh:

I would echo the sentiments that now would be the optimal time to make a change. We changed our name after our rookie season from PC (Prosthetic Cougars) Robots to Las Pumas–our school mascot is the cougar, an animal never once found in the state of Indiana.

The team chose to make the change and I cautioned them at the time to choose wisely (shades of Indy Jones 3) because they will have to live with it for a long, long time. While I am sure it has happened more than once, an annual name change would give the feel of wishy-washiness.

Your current name and logo are appealing, yet I can see the allure of Ninjaneers. For what it’s worth, when we switched to Las Pumas, my big name ideas were either the Grease Monkeys or Bad Wolf Robotics–neither of which had anything to do with my school corporation.

It’s like marriage; make sure you can stand the name five years down the road.

I wouldn’t be so sure about that… see this picture…
Greene County Indiana from 2010

I am a born and raised Hoosier… there have been reports of cougars for many years… especially in the more rural counties in southern Indiana… I think you have a really great name …

Indiana cougar.jpg

Indiana cougar.jpg

I stand corrected. I omitted Northwest from Indiana. No cougars up here!

I think the first thing you should do is take a step back and ask yourself ‘who are we?’ and ‘what do we want to be known as?’ Having a really creative, silly name that provides you with a creative logo, shirts and team cheers won’t work very well if your team is filled with shy, reserved students who don’t want to stand out and lead cheers. On the flip side, if you have an outgoing team, having a conservative name may not be the best as they cannot express themselves and stand out.

The next question is what do you want to me known as. Do you want to be known as the professional, hard working team ala 148 or 1114 or do you want to be known as the outgoing, full of cheer and team spirit like 33 or 1902? Just because you take the latter, doesn’t mean you can’t have a competive robot, however.

Once you get a general ‘feel’ of your team, then you start brainstorming team names. It’s easy to pick a cool sounding name, but its more difficult to find a team name that leads to a good logo, motto, shirts, signs, pit designs/displays, robot signs, cheer, mascots, and all other visable aspects of your team. The main thing is to have all these aspects related and tied together. Before you decide on a team name, I would have ideas for all of these aspects.

I would also look at some other teams at your regional(s) and try to be different from them. For example, as a team who goes to 2 regionals with both 111 and 1625 (both of which wear tie-dye), I wouldn’t recommend my team switch to tie-dye.

Tell Herb he’s dead wrong. I’d argue that a name and branding that stand out among the crowd is more important for a small, low budget, low resource team like yours than it is for the well known teams. You need whatever edge you can get that will help other teams remember you.

I’m on the scouting team and I spend almost the entire competition watching matches. After seeing match after match with non-distinct robots, it gets difficult to keep them straight, especially in Breakaway. If you can come up with some way to tie bring your team’s identity into your robot’s appearance, you’ll become more recognizable and in-turn, more memorable.

It’s hard to believe no one thought of:

Resistance to Ohm’s is Futile.

Even the Borg would be impressed. If their reluctance were low. Pardon me if I’m offering impedance to this process. Have you designed a three-ring circuit yet?

I wish we could spotlight this entire post.

One thought about the awesome Exploding Bacon: they were rookies once, just like every other team. They had a very successful rookie year, true - but they’ve had to earn their stripes. I’ve asked them to tell me the story behind their name and it is a good one. (I’ll check and see if they posted it in the website. Couldn’t find it, goes off to find a team member…)

Mike is spot on with the branding. Branding can help from the get-go, whereas, the strength and power behind becoming a well-known competitive team can take a while to develop.