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FC Cincinnati Selects Interbrand to Craft Club's MLS Brand Identity

July 16, 2018 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - FC Cincinnati News Release

CINCINNATI - FC Cincinnati, which will join Major League Soccer in 2019 as an expansion team, is working with Interbrand, a global brand consulting firm, to lead the evolution of its brand strategy and identity ahead of its MLS debut.

Interbrand's scope of work includes verbal brand development to articulate FC Cincinnati's brand story and experience principles, as well as the brand's updated logo and visual brand identity system which will integrate the heritage and equities of the brand to express and position FC Cincinnati for the future.

As part of this development, Interbrand will leverage intellectual property and fan-based research to inform and inspire the brand's new identity and assist with the evolved brand's launch plan.

Interbrand is a leading global branding agency that provides both world and local perspective to its client's projects. Interbrand's Cincinnati office - which includes a Cincinnati born-and-bred team leading the FC Cincinnati brand update - is backed by the agency's 21 global offices and brings a unique perspective to the project.

The agency has extensive experience rebranding and refreshing sports-related properties, including the recent progressive update of Italian Serie A power Juventus' brand, as well as the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

FC Cincinnati, Interbrand and Major League Soccer began strategizing on the FCC brand refresh soon after MLS announced in late May that Cincinnati would join the league next year.

Since that time, club and league officials have worked together to develop the formal brand story that will shape the evolution of the FC Cincinnati brand as it moves to the next stage of its life.

"We're thrilled to work with Interbrand on our MLS brand update," FC Cincinnati President and General Manager Jeff Berding said. "Interbrand has brought a global creativity and vast experience to a project that's dear to our region. With their strong local ties to the Cincinnati community, we're excited by the work done so far and look forward to later unveiling the results of everyone's efforts."

"FC Cincinnati has developed a passionate fan base, and they have truly become a revered brand in the region in their short time as a USL club," said Brian Erdman, Managing Director at Interbrand. "We look forward to leveraging the strengths of their existing brand as we elevate FCC's strategy and identity to inspire a holistic fan experience that is unparalleled in the MLS."

Key to the FC Cincinnati brand refresh has been the input of the club's Fan Council, which has been involved in ideation, focus groups and periodic status reviews. Incorporating the supporters' feedback has been a priority during the FC Cincinnati and Interbrand partnership.

"Our supporters have been the foundation of our club's success since its launch in 2015," Berding said. "Our city has a unique pride and our supporters reflect that feeling. We've been pleased with the input and critique they've provided during this process and we know it will lead to an update that will resonate deeply with our fanbase."

"The FC Cincinnati rebrand, at its core, is about bringing our local club to the national stage, and ultimately to the world stage," Edman said. "At Interbrand, we firmly believe in the philosophy of co-creation, and we are thrilled to involve local stakeholders, including supporters, throughout this entire process to evolve their brand identity. Ultimately, the fans are the true owners of the FCC brand."

FC Cincinnati will formally present its final MLS branding to the league and official apparel supplier Adidas for approval at the 2018 All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Later this fall, FC Cincinnati will formally unveil its MLS identity to the public.

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