WATERTOWN — The unveiling of new athletic logos and Jefferson Community College’s first mascot marks the conclusion of a year-long process and the beginning of a new marketing trend for the school.
First over Zoom and then again in the lobby of JCC’s gym, athletic director Jeff Wiley, alongside men’s basketball player Howard Turner, baseball player Joseph Saccente, volleyball player Aliza Deasy and women’s basketball player Shyanne Lewis, showed off the future face of the school’s athletics programs.
The fresh logos, replacing the old “J” underlaid by a firing cannon, are highlighted by a maroon base, accented with copper, adding color to a previously colorless design in comparison. The school, which worked alongside Rickabaugh Graphics, kept the name “Cannoneers” after it tested well in a focus group and introduced a bald eagle, to honor the “valor, courage and pride” demonstrated by the school’s and community’s close ties to Fort Drum.
In addition to a primary logo and a slew of secondary logos, JCC introduced athletic designs specifically made for each sport.
“The parents and their family members really want to know what sport their child plays and what sports student-athletes play,” Wiley said. “It sells, you don’t want just a Jefferson shirt, ‘oh, my kid goes to Jefferson,’ you want a Jefferson baseball hat or a Jefferson softball or a Jefferson volleyball. That’s kind of who we market to, the parents and friends of the student athletes.”
Adding to the school’s revamped identity will be the introduction of its new, yet-to-be named, mascot. The bald eagle dressed in a cannoneer’s uniform will be present at all school events, not just athletics. The school is expected to hold a naming contest for the eagle this spring when the costume arrives.
The redesign not only freshens up JCC’s athletic brand, it starts, what the school hopes, is a trend of improving its facilities.
“We had in our budget a new turf field,” Wiley said. “With all the tough times that New York state is going through right now, that’s going to be pushed back maybe a year or two. Not quite sure, but that is part of it, getting a turf field. That was our timeline, we really wanted to break ground on the turf field in August and have the new brand in August and September. With COVID, it kind of pushed that time frame back a little bit.”
The redesign also coincides with an initiative to improve its social media reach, something first-year Cannoneers baseball coach, and former Watertown Rapids general manager, Brandon Noble is heading.
“Now that we have all the new branding, we can do a lot more with each team,” Noble said. “One thing that we kind of started was promoting when players commit to come here, to kind of showcase ‘this person from this area is going to come here and hopefully other people see that.”
JCC’s Twitter account, @CANNONEERS, was quick to update its avatar and header photo with the school’s new branding following Wednesday’s event. While the point of social media is to inform, its objective is also to connect with its audience and athletes.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s fun getting our student athletes involved and getting to showcase them more,” Noble said. “It’s really a platform to promote what we have going on, but it’s nice to include our student athletes, be able to have them visible, while they’re here. It’s also nice with recruiting because hopefully potential student athletes see what we’re doing and want to be a part of it.”
It’s a valuable marketing tool that stretches multiple platforms from Twitter to Facebook and Instagram and, if used correctly, can lead a brand’s image in the community. Noble knows a thing or two about that potential, as general manager of the Watertown Rapids for two years, he oversaw their social media feeds.
“Mainly the consistency, making sure that we’re constantly in front of people’s eyes,” Noble said. “That consistency just helps because people get used to seeing it and they start to expect to see it. And when we have more normalcy, people will expect to see this stuff, every game that’s happening, they’re going to expect to see something.”
JCC is hoping to begin its basketball seasons on Jan. 11 with its first men’s and women’s basketball games being Jan. 23.
By then Wiley hopes to have the new branding on the basketball court, a project he hopes will start on Dec. 1 and take about four weeks to complete.