Lexington Sporting Club: The Community’s Club
Soccer is a sport that unifies. It brings together people of every age, race, and gender identification to connect and strengthen communities all across the globe. Soccer — the beautiful game — includes everyone. And it takes a team to build a team.
That’s why it was imperative when partnering with the founders of the club, that we started with listening — to everyone. Our task: lead the branding process, develop foundational language, manage and design social media and website, name the club. This included hearing from hundreds of stakeholders (owners, partners, community and business leaders, coaches, athletes, historians, artists, fans, non-fans) to set the framework for the branding process.
We conducted 14 listening sessions. We received over 300 brand surveys and nearly 1500 stadium surveys. And we listened for over 80 hours and conducted over 200 hours of research. Needless to say, we learned a lot, which helped us generate hundreds of names and guide the process to a result that will resonate with the community for years to come.
But naming a soccer club comes with a lot of pressure. And even more opinions. With the help of the participants and managers, we developed criteria to keep everyone focused on what would make a strong name for the club. Below are the criteria we used to start generating names and make decisions.
1. Prefer traditional soccer names over city and mascot name
2. Use Lexington as the regional descriptor.
3. Show pride in the sporting tradition of the region
4. Establish the club’s seriousness and team culture
5. Be gender-neutral and youth appropriate
Lexington Sporting Club brings an international heritage, highlighting the area’s sporting passions, and setting the tone for a compelling future. It’s more than a name for the professional team. It is for the youth clubs, the academy, and future endeavors. It is for the community.
For the visual identity, we partnered with a soccer brand expert. Christopher Payne has many years of experience designing visual identities for soccer clubs. He immersed himself in the culture through listening sessions and spending time in the community. And the message became clear. People are proud of their winning tradition and the landscape that bolsters its signature industries: bourbon and horses. With a stylized horse, custom typography, and recognizable colors from the landscape, the final crest references tradition in a familiar and new way.
We also established core values and language that put words to the passion that defines Lexington Sporting Club. Together, the colors, the design, the language, and the name form an identity to unite a community through opportunity, competition, and great soccer.
You only get one shot to launch a soccer club. Partnering with the United Soccer League and PR group, 418 Communications, we planned a thoughtful launch across platforms. We gave fans a peek behind the curtain through video, web, and social, revealing the care and collaboration that went into building the crest. We led with values and the club’s vision. The purposeful approach put the club’s ethos into practice: one crest, one club, one community.