Helping a century-old sports brand find its place in culture
Alongside DEPT®, Wilson repositioned themselves and authored a proactive, authentic mission for the brand and business: “empower every human to live life like an athlete.”
On this foundation, we set out to refresh the brand identity and execute a digital launch strategy for Wilson Sportswear from concept through production.
The need to stand for something
Wilson, the iconic American sporting goods brand, came to us at an inflection point.
The company had been at the center of sport for over a century, making world-class hard goods like balls, bats, rackets, clubs, and gloves to give athletes an edge. While their products were well-known by athletes around the world, they were preparing to launch their first-ever apparel line and recognized that the brand needed to stand for something bigger.
We started by shaking down the brand through a visual audit and interviews with employees and athletes to understand brand perception and the role that sport plays in their lives.
We learned unequivocally that sports matter. They add meaning to our lives. They teach us things.
How to persist. How to work together. How to fail. And most importantly, that what lies within is bigger than anything that lies ahead.
You don’t reinvent a 100-year-old brand. You find its soul and give it room to grow.
“Athlete” is considered a title reserved for a chosen few. It conjures up ideas of physical ability and big-name fame. When people think “athlete,” they think of the ones they see on TV. Blood, sweat, and tears. Walking out of tunnels, arms raised in victory.
Our go-to-market strategy for the first year of Wilson Sportswear was to challenge these stereotypes by representing the athletic spirit that lives inside us all and plays on without expecting anything in return.
Spirited collaboration despite the odds
Design and product development, in sync
The timing of our brand identity work allowed BASIC/DEPT® designers to explore and refine a new visual language for the Wilson brand at the same time their internal teams developed the inaugural Sportswear collection. As a result, we were able to influence everything from packaging to hang tags, even branding on the collection itself.
Empowering a global team to create with long-term consistency. We crafted an all-new brand book consisting of a design system, photography guidelines, and company culture material.
A familiar format to carry on the conversation. For year one, we proposed orienting the brand around biweekly “drops.” This construct was proven in the category and gave Wilson a way to establish a heartbeat of product stories based on cultural moments, capsules, and collaborations.
Remote content production
The restraints of the pandemic didn’t hold us back. We were able to safely plan and produce multi-day shoots in LA to sustain the launch phase and months of drops to follow.