WHEN IT COMES TO CLIENT NEEDS, YOU NEED TO GET IN THE ZONE
ZoneSports got their start when husband and wife team, became involved in their children’s junior basketball league. Watching the kid’s play each week, they saw a market for custom-designed basketball uniforms for small team groups. This quickly grew into providing team uniforms for other sporting associations and allowed ZoneSports to expand into apparel and merchandise for clubs.
ZoneSports moves from a defence to an offence game plan
The growth of the business had come from a combination of word of mouth referrals and direct contact with local sporting clubs and associations. While it may have been an effective strategy in the beginning, it was also time-consuming and limiting sales geographically.
When the time came to introduce a new compression garment to market, the decision was made to also undertake a rebranding exercise that would also include developing a digital presence for the company. As the compression garments were to rival high-end brands Skins and 2KU knew they needed an easily identifiable brand that could match their competitors instore and online.
SCOPE OF PROJECT
Digital and Printed Marketing Assets
Packaging and Labelling
Develop a new brand that could launch the business into a new, high-end market, while incorporating the elements of the existing brand that had helped build the business in the first place (grass roots junior sport).
Burning Love Creative appointed as a specialist coach
When you’re creating a high-end garment to rival the market leaders, you know there’s aspects of the business you need to invest in: quality products, memorable design and effective packaging.
But as a young business, with a tight cashflow, ZoneSports didn’t have the luxury of getting it wrong. When it came time to start discussions with a brand specialist, they knew they needed someone with the experience to deliver, but also the ability to coach them through their first proper launch.
Burning Love Creative made the case that ZoneSports needed an agency that could deliver across all aspects of their business – brand development and strategy, print design and production, packaging and promotional material, and content creation. To disrupt the market, the client needed a ‘specialist – generalist’.
Designing the game plan
The first phase of the project was all about research. While ZoneSports targets markets were both in the sporting field, they had distinctly different buyer personas. BLC research needed to discover: who was currently buying ZoneSports uniforms (so as to increase market share) and who would be interested in the compression range (so they could visually target new customers).
In parallel to the customer journey, BLC also really needed to understand the complexities of the new garment and what the key point of difference was from the big brands. After a collaborative session, it became clear that the new ZoneSport range wasn’t just about recovery, but also lifestyle, as the compression technology was applied to different muscles depending on the activity e.g for endurance, game, training or recovery.
Armed with this knowledge
Armed with this knowledge, BLC then undertook competitive research to really understand the main players in the industry and how they attracted their customers. Given the large budgets of Skins and 2KU to identify their target markets, it was important to gather as much information as possible on the backstory for their branding and UX for their websites and leverage this information for ZoneSports. The aim was for new and existing customers to be curious about the garments, but also feel familiar with the content and layout. For this reason, a copywriter was also brought into the team to better understand ZoneSports current lexicon, clarify the tone of voice for the new products and produce the copy for the packaging and point of sale details.
For ultimate performance, you need to look at the whole package
With research complete, work on the creative could begin. BLC were to design:
Branding fundamentals (visual identity and images), including a unisex logo to be used across a range of products and media, that would stand the test of time (think Nike tick)
Website holding page with integrated form
Social branding and assets
Packaging and clothing tags for compression range
Minimum Cost, Maximum Impact
The biggest challenge to the project was designing affordable packaging that could be used across the entire range of compression wear, which consisted of:
3 x items – long tights, short tights, short sleeve top
4 x styles – Endurance, Game Day, Training, Recovery
6 x sizes
Male and female options
To keep costs low, a minimum run of 5000 boxes was needed, but with the garments priced in the $200 range, they needed to be of high quality, make an impact and be reusable (so good you don’t want to throw it out). The result was an A5 box, with magnetic seal in matt black with silver foil logo, that could be used for all products.
The next hurdle
The next hurdle was designing a sleeve that could differentiate the levels of compression. The client loved the spot silver foil that was now on the business cards. They wanted their top of line product “Endurance” to be in gold, with different colours foils or metallics for the different levels. However, this was an expensive and impractical option. The solution was to use foil stock and print any colour using a shiny spot. Working closely with the printer we were able to trial samples of colours on foil stock to find the right combination (the printer would run samples when the stock was loaded for another client, to keep trial costs low).
Finally, all that was left to do was create
Black only stickers – 52 different types to show product information including size, type and M/F. The stickers were also used to seal the sleeve to the box.
Easy to understand size chart – important for compression garments to work effectively
Icons to demonstrate the product’s selling points
Point of sale fabric display
Point of sale for tradeshows
Branding for inhouse documents – pricelist, invoice, email signature etc.
The final wrap up
This project had many different moving parts that all needed to come together, within the confines of budget, a loyal customer base and a client that was learning as they moved forward. As designers it’s our role to provide the guidance our clients need – and that’s often to really drill down and find out what’s important about their past design elements and what they want to bring forward into the future. Without accessing this, there will always be blockages to the design process – no matter the budget.
As you can imagine being a marketing agency, we’ve worked with a lot of graphic designers and “branding experts”, only to be let down and left flat by the results. Unfortunately its easy to brand yourself as an expert in this space but it’s a lot harder to deliver.
To this day I’ve not met anyone who has the ability to look at a business, understand that business, pull it apart from a design and a branding perspective and come up with a concept for a brand that just works for that marketplace.
I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Lisa. Lisa is the absolute go to.