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WHEN IT COMES TO CLIENT NEEDS, YOU NEED TO GET IN THE ZONE

ZoneSports got their start when husband and wife team, XXX and XXX, 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, XXX and @@@ knew they needed an easily identifiable brand that could match their competitors instore and online.

SCOPE OF PROJECT

Brand Strategy

Digital and Printed Marketing Assets

Packaging and Labelling

CHALLENGE

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).

OUTCOME

Need your words here…what do you think was the overall outcome?

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, XXX and XXX 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. XXX & XXX 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

Brochures

Media wall

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.

We’ve worked with Lisa for a long time now and she is head and shoulders the best branding expert I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.

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. Marcus Jovanovich

Owner, My Marketing Coach