The club has decided to called in brand consultants in a bid to attract investment and boost attendances. They have hired Bermondsey-based Brandovator who have been told to start from a zero base and consider all aspects of the club’s public-facing image.
Brandovator have assigned two of their top employees (known as ‘innovators’) to the task. 32-year old Canadian Miller Wall holds the Saskatchewan Brand Tools Innovator of the Year award for 2008 for his work on repositioning a spanner manufacturer. Chrystal Hurst is an Oxford PPE graduate who formerly worked for Sainsbury’s.
Brandovator has developed a unique methodology in which its innovators lie on rafts in a flotation tank. They are bombarded with images of the brand for five minutes and then lie in complete silence and total darkness while they envision the brand.
Given Charlton’s position as a London club with many supporters in Kent, it was decided that Wall would envision Kentish images while Hurst focused on London. Wall recalled: ‘I see cathedrals, oast houses, orchards, Dickensian marshes, Whitstable oysters, Tracey Emin, Eurostar, the Channel Tunnel, cross-channel ferries, white cliffs, Dreamland, happy hoppers, a long pier, miniature railways.’
The tape for Hurst runs: ‘I see pearly kings and queens, the Thames Barrier, Woolwich Ferry, the foot tunnels, jellied eels, the Dome, cor blimey guv, strike a light, lord love a duck, I hear Bow Bells, oh it’s my i-phone, ‘****! I have dropped the ****ing phone in the tank.’
The two innovators agreed that the starting point of their work must be the club’s name. ‘Charlton is a very specific location and not a very up market one,’ said Hurst. ‘Greenwich would have greater global name recognition and Miller came up with the idea of Greenwich Meridian.
However, it was agreed that that would be too geographically specific and that the club needed an outward-facing name that would embrace its support in London and Kent whilst also giving it a distinctive global niche. The first idea was ‘Thames’, but then it was pointed out that was the name of a failed inter-war club.
The duo then settled on ‘Estuary’ which emphasises the club’s increasingly Kent-based demographic, whilst also suggesting expanding and limitless horizons. Should Boris Island ever be built, the club would be well placed to relocate there.
A new kit would have a downwards expanding triangle of wavy blue lines on the shirt to symbolise the Estuary, the remainder of the shirt retaining the traditional red as a link with the club’s past. Shorts would be green to emphasise the Kent connection, with an oast house device to one side.
The sword badge would be replaced by a depiction of a Eurostar train disappearing into a tunnel, reviving the attempts of Rick Everitt many years ago to tap into the French market as recorded in All’s Quiet in the West Stand. The Red, Red Robin would be replaced by ‘Ferry Across the Thames’, a re-written version of Ferry Across the Mersey, giving a link with the Estuary theme.’
The East Stand would be re-named the Cathedrals Stand. The Jimmy Seed stand would become the Charles Dickens stand. The Covered End would be named the Tracey Emin stand. The London link would be maintained by naming the West Stand the Chirpy Cockneys stand.
A club spokesman said, ‘We welcome this radical re-branding of the club which we are sure will be welcomed by all forward-looking supporters going forward. The Estuary brand demonstrates convincingly that this is not a club stuck in the mud. The tide is coming in at The Valley and it’s lifting all boats.’