FlyQuest has had the slogan, “Showcase Greatness,” on its website for the past three years. Since the founding of the organization in 2018, this ethos has driven it like a war cry. It’s what unifies everyone in the company from the athletes to the business folks.
The only problem is the saying isn’t well-known outside of the team’s own employees. In 2020, FlyQuest hopes to change that with a series of big initiatives, spearheaded by new CEO Tricia Sugita. Her big goal is to make sure everyone—not just FlyQuest fans—know the slogan by heart.
“I want everyone to know what FlyQuest stands for,” Sugita told Dot Esports. “When anybody thinks of FlyQuest, they’re going to think of ‘Showcase Greatness.’ I want them to be able to repeat what it is.”
To accomplish that, FlyQuest is taking several big risks, beginning with the product that fans see on stage.
One of the riskiest moves Sugita made as FlyQuest’s new CEO is a complete redesign of the team’s jerseys. In previous years, FlyQuest had been cloaked in darker shades, including a black look for much of the 2019 LCS season.
Sugita wanted to move to a brighter look that reflects her spin on the organization and that resonates more with FlyQuest’s brand. But instead of just slapping the team’s “FQ” logo on a white jersey, she went with something completely new.
The sleek, high-tech look that esports jerseys have morphed into over the past few years is out. A long-sleeve, T-shirt style jersey featuring a bold, floral print is in.
It’s not a look commonly seen in esports and FlyQuest is fine with that. The company wants to be different and wants its jerseys to symbolize nature and growth, two huge themes for the year. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some initial resistance to a change this big from a new CEO.
“I got a lot of pushback in the beginning about floral,” Sugita said. “People had never seen it on a jersey, not just in esports. The flower, violet, is the state flower of Wisconsin, because we wanted to root back to the Midwest.”
The jersey also reflects the organization’s 2020 goals, which extend beyond the competitive stage.
In trying to figure out how to build a stronger brand, Sugita decided to tap into one of their biggest assets, the color green. FlyQuest’s big 2020 initiative, “Going Green,” is a reflection of that color, but also Sugita’s personal beliefs in helping people build stronger connections with each other and the planet.
“What we do is, we are an esports org, but why we’re here is ‘Showcase Greatness,'” Sugita said. “How we achieve that, at least this year, is ‘Go Green.’ Green as a color symbolizes so much of what’s important to us. It symbolizes life, growth, harmony, and the environment. We’re committed to showcasing the greatness of the color green, it’s our primary color and we’re going to wear it proudly.”
The “Go Green” initiative extends beyond flower jerseys. The team recently debuted a new business and practice facility named “The Greenhouse.” The organization is launching projects to plant trees and save wild turtles, a riff on popular FlyQuest player Jason “WildTurtle” Tran’s in-game name. Some of these will even have direct tie-ins to the team’s performances in the LCS:
The hope is that FlyQuest is able to differentiate itself with these ideas and help fans identify the vision with the brand. And Sugita would like to connect with fans that believe in helping the planet. She’s already seen those connections form internally with her employees and players, and believes they’re all on the same page for 2020.
“If you ask any one of our players, right now why we’re doing our jersey, Turtle will go ‘cuz we’re Going Green, biatch,'” she said. “They can all tell you and they all believe it.”
It’s still unknown how that will resonate with LCS fans. Traditionally, team branding has either been focused on results or legendary players. FlyQuest does have WildTurtle and just kicked off the 2020 Spring Split with two straight victories.
Taking a newer org in a complete different direction is a real risk. It also represents a tremendous opportunity. FlyQuest can’t compete with TSM’s history or Liquid’s recent run of championships. Maybe this approach will set it apart and draw in new fans.
Sugita thinks it will. She started in esports because she valued the personal connections she made in the industry. She hopes that by injecting herself into the brand, she can make a difference in its future. And she’s started to prepare weekly Ikebana flower arrangements for the office to inspire her staff.
“This is something that’s personal to me,” Sugita said. “It’s all about expressing gratitude through flower arrangements, so people can remember to have a daily exercise of gratitude. Leaning into our colors and owning that, owning what green means. Green isn’t just a color, it represents everything we believe in.”
Sugita has believers throughout her organization. This year will show if that belief spreads throughout the LCS.