FIRST's branding tweaks..thoughts?

…aka, Jess is being picky about FIRST’s marketing strategy again…so, read if you dare :slight_smile:

Subtely, FIRST has been tweaking their marketing lately, from the addition of the Championship splash page on the site, to many other small adjustments. the following are a few:

(Note: I think we’ve talked the logo to death at this point (I would be interested to hear thoughts around the year anniversary of the logo change, that’s not what this is about.)

  • Changing from FIRST to FIRST
    . The first time this came up was in this letter from John Abele. It’s not totally consistent yet, which understandably takes time (notice the “headlines” underneath the Championship splash)…but is this the official way to write FIRST now?
  • The FRV acronym (as mentioned in this thread). So, now we have FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition), FLL (FIRST Lego League), the natural progression would be FVC (FIRST Vex Challenge, as it is named on FIRST’s site). Granted, the “Challenge” could be referring to the fact that this is still literally a pilot, and the FRV could be a premonition of the future final name of Vex. Does anything in the Vex manuals point to a long-hand name for Vex that is different from FIRST Vex Challenge? Basically, it’s coming back to the objective of moving FIRST as less of an adjective and more towards a proper noun - does FRV fit into that, or is there something we’re missing?

Are these tweaks no big deal? Are they helpful? Are they necessary, but cumbersome in implementation? Maybe. I’d like to hear thoughts about these tweaks before I jump back in with my opinions.

I think FIRST or *FIRST *either way it should be written, is moving towards the main stream very slowly with this plan. VEX is going to be marketed all over in stores and along with that FIRST. There marketing plan isn’t a short spurt but a long distance plan, I like it.

The FIRST Vex Challenge is just that. It is a one-year pilot program. That is all FIRST has committed to at this point. Thus, there is no other or long name for it.

Any really good corporation will do two things as it matures:
a) listen to its current customers
b) listen to the market/competition

FIRST is doing just that as it grows up.

I worked for Xerox Corporation for 15 years, during which I saw the company grow rapidly, win the Baldridge Award, turn the “difficult” corner to all-digital printing, and then collapse/re-build the upper management.

During those same 15 years, the corporation changed its logo and branding strategy numerous times. Too often is not a good thing, but even Proctor & Gamble finally changed their logo and branding.

It’s good to see FIRST spread its wings and the message that goes along; just don’t lose sight of the core charter and “culture”.

PS: I think the verbiage for the FIRST logo should be angled in reverse-italics “backwards” like the Nascar drivers do with their FAST numbers! That way, the FIRST name could be copyrighted (already done) and also trademarked!

I’m uncertain about all the marketing. Especially the reworking of the logo. And really especially with all the new restrictions on logo usage… That no one pays any attention to. I’ve seen several teams and websites misusing the logo, along with FIRST itself misusing the logo in the awards presentation. It’s rather disappointing that they went to all the trouble to change the logo so people would stop modifying it… and then let people modify it anyways.

necessary? maybe depending on how you want this competition to be presented. When you bring in volunteers from the coporate community they are going to attempt to bring a more professional image to their organization.

I think the entire program is going to continually evolve, and it may not always be agreed with by everyone but that is just the nature of the beast.

This is an organization dealing with many huge multinational corporations that expect a degree of professionality. Personally I think thus far all these tweaks have added a sense of professionalism to think organization. I think we have seen a number of ambitious ideas from FIRST over the last year (FIRST Senior Mentors, VEX, Kit Drive trains/Kit Revamp, IFI handling parts) and if this is the future of FIRST I think I like it a lot. Even looking at companies such as AndyMark have come about. I think that these evolutions of this program have dramatically changed the experience.

I was recently discussing this that KSC used to be great because of the uniqueness of being outdoors (or at least i thought), and the regionals had a little bit more of a “local flavor” to them, but to deliver a consistent experience a large number of teams these things are being eliminated. For better or worse, overall, I think these items will benifit.

It’s even been modified here - look in the top left corner. :wink:

Give it time. If FIRST does continue to go down this path of evolving towards marketing, they’ll begin to crack down on misuse of the logo. Companies and organizations seem to be VERY overprotective these days, if only because it’s too easy to get a lawsuit into the court system.

Technically that’s the old logo and doesn’t matter. Some examples would be the FIRST Topsite icon, at the bottom right of the portal page, or, ironically, Team 1’s website intro at

Just to let you all know,

the main reason that a company writes-down all the “rules” about logo usage is not necessary to “police” the teams who use the FIRST logo, but more to keep outsiders from “stealing it”.

If the FIRST branding (logo, name, etc.) all get mis-used by teams, regional venues, even by FIRST employees, then the company starts to lose their right to call it a brand trademark.

What would happen if somebody started to sell “FIRST” hotdogs or knock-off t-shirts? So, your company brand name is a lot more than just the physical logo, etc. It’s called “intellectual property” and “intangible assets” and sometimes can be the biggest asset/value to the company.

Think of companies like Xerox, Kleenex, etc that have had to work very hard to protect their own identity from being undermined. FIRST’s branding campaign is just creating a special place for the “real” FIRST to keep out the imitators…GO FIRST.