A brand expert says the Crusaders rugby team would survive with a new name.

The Crusaders announced yesterday that they will be consulting an independent research company to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders team name and brand, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew added that the current combination of the Crusaders' team name and branding is "no longer tenable".

Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams, brand strategist Jill Brindson said she believes the Crusaders' brand is "a lot bigger than its name" and can stand on its own.


"I don't think it would be [risky] if they do it well. And there's no reason they would do it in a shambolic manner," Brindson said.

"The truth is the brand is a lot bigger than its name. It's all about the name at the moment but the brand has got a very strong set of values and a powerful personality for that Canterbury region.

"If they take the pride, the strength, the resilience, the sense of community, the absolute drive for the victory that the brand is all about, and they put that into either a re-imagining of the Crusaders, so that the crusade is something different and is set free from the historical wars, or they actually change its name completely.

"As long as the brand values and personality, the spirit, the promise of that brand, the behaviour inside the community remains the same, they should quite successfully be able to actually shift it across."

The Crusaders celebrate after winning the 2018 Super Rugby final. Photo / Photosport
The Crusaders celebrate after winning the 2018 Super Rugby final. Photo / Photosport

The Crusaders confirmed that they have toned down their imagery of knights on horses with swords which evokes the historical wars between the christians and muslims during the medieval period.

Brindson said that the current brand is damaged because of the events of March 15 and agreed with the process that the Crusaders have taken.

"We do have a brand right now with a fault line running right through it because of what's happened, because of the two races and parts of the story that are involved. It's a red hot situation that we've got here.

"So it's right that they're leaning in, it's right that they're dealing with it. But I would hope that there would be a huge amount of listening to the fans and listening to the marketplace."


Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge admitted yesterday that the process could prove costly but said the number one priority will be "making the right decision" over any financial impacts, also adding that the organisation's process was fully supported by sponsors.

"The key thing is that the people who are interested in doing the right decision are committed to the process. I think we want to make the right decision. We'll be managing the cost of that as best we possibly can through the process. But the first criteria is making the right decision.

"The sponsors have asked us the questions ... I would say unanimously [they] have said 'we really appreciate the way you're conducting yourself through this and we really appreciate the sensitivity and also the process that you put in place. So we back you in your process.'

"So we haven't had anybody say 'right, we're out', they've all said that they're backing us through the process. And we've engaged them quite closely both individually and as groups. After the press release I got a number of sponsors come back and say 'thank you, we appreciate the process you're going through'."