Creating a Heroic Visual Brand Language Story

CLIENT: Gait Lacrosse


SERVICES: Research, Strategy, Design

Gait Lacrosse is a subsidiary of Rawlings sporting goods. Gait approached us and asked our brand development team to help them re-define their brand and help them gain share in the crowded lacrosse equipment market. Priority Designs has a long history of helping sporting goods companies become market leaders, so we took on the challenge; developing a new brand positioning story and visual brand language for the Gait Lacrosse.

Gaining Voice-of-the-Customer Insights

Priority Designs led ethnographic research on Gait’s target market to identify what consumers really wanted in a lacrosse brand. Our research experts conducted customer intercepts with teen and college aged boys at national  and regional lacrosse tournaments. We used the intercepts to get a read on brand awareness and perceptions. We also joined the boys on shop-alongs to specialty retailers to study buying preferences and influencers. Additionally, we conducted 1-on-1, in-depth interviews with players to gain insight into specific product traits that mattered most. All of these research activities helped us gain a better understanding into Gait’s core customers, and what brand messages were resonating. The insights revealed how Gait could be unique in the marketplace and still be relevant.

Building the Brand Through Workshops

We wanted to find what was authentic about Gait and incorporate their internal aspirations into their brand story. We conducted a series of brand-building workshops with Gait to capture their team’s voice and strategize with them how to incorporate our customer research insights into future messaging. During these workshops, we helped Gait gain additional perspectives about their brand and we shared compelling brand building techniques. From these workshops, the foundation of a new Gait brand story began.

Using Archetypes to Develop a Voice for the Brand

Extolling the virtues of features and benefits to consumers can be very unemotional. A better way to communicate to customers is by telling stories which allow them to connect emotionally with characters and situations they can relate with. Using archetypal branding techniques, we develop characters for brands and then tell their stories through the character’s voice.

In the case of Gait, our research insights revealed their customers wanted to feel heroic when they used their equipment. Using this insight, we created a foundational brand story for Gait, cast in the image of a war hero who inspires courage on the battlefield. The Gait brand story is then told through the voice of our hero. By creating a character for their brand, this technique helps bring consistency to the tone and manner of all their messaging.

Creating a Guide Book for the Brand

Once the brand story was created, Gait need a guide to help them tell their story consistently across all brand touch points including; marketing communications, product design, and brand experiences. We designed the Gait Brand Guide to capture their brand story and give guidelines how to tell it consistently across all platforms. Gait’s new brand story featured a war hero, so we designed the book in the theme of a military field manual. The book features a back story for our hero, his world view and examples of how he would express himself in words and visuals. We also created samples of how to use the character’s voice in ads, products and branded experiences.

Implementing the Brand Story

The internal marketing team now uses their brand guide as inspiration to create and refine their marketing and product development efforts. The brand story helps development teams focus effort on the elements that matter most to customers. With Gait’s internal team now all working from the same script, their revitalized brand has steadily been winning converts. Now, Gait is on a path to market place victory.

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