Singapore – Sports company Decathlon has recently unveiled its latest ‘Ready to Play?’ campaign, inviting customers and colleagues to embrace life and sports with a refreshed brand identity and an all new ‘Orbit’ logo. 

Made with creative agency Wolff Olins and AMV BBDO, Decathlon presents an overhauled strategy, visual identity, and overall brand experience, redesigned to more clearly align its 85 ‘in-house’ brands with the overarching Decathlon brand. 

For the campaign, the creative team also developed a fresh approach to art direction involving a greater emphasis on inclusion and enjoyment, serving as an invitation to the public to get involved, steered by the campaign line “Ready to play?”

Going into the details of the rebrand, Decathlon unveiled its refreshed brand purpose, which is to “Move people through the wonders of sport”, giving people an accessible entry to live active lives, and allowing them to experience the joys of the sports that they immerse themselves in. 

Decathlon’s new Orbit logo also expresses their brand identity, serving as a symbol of openness for everyone to embrace it for what it means to them, whether it is accessibility, high-performance, innovation, or a positive impact on the environment.

Decathlon aims to bring its new positioning and identity to life by connecting product to a larger emotion or activity leading with expressive and relatable imagery and captivating content, introducing new merchandising and storytelling, bringing moments of delight through motion, content, and much more. 

Talking about the campaign and brand refresh, Barbara Martin Coppola, global CEO of Decathlon, said, “At Decathlon, we believe that sport has a vital role to play in helping societies to be healthier and happier. Sport helps us to reconnect with our humanity, with the planet, and with our physical selves. So, we took a moment to ask ourselves who we really want to be, and why we exist as an organisation.”

“From this, we wrote our North Star. This is our long-term ambition, and our guiding light to have all the positive impact we can have in the world. Guided by the North Star, a new purpose was born, to Move People Through the Wonders of Sport.”

“We are all incredibly excited and proud to share with you the new chapter of Decathlon. One that will help many people around the world experience the wonders of sport,” she ended.

What good is our social sphere if consumer brands simply remained stagnant in their brand experiences? This is somewhat the proposition that Wayne Deakin, creative lead at British ad agency Wolff Olins, gave in his piece, Don’t believe the hype–rethink brand experience penned and published here at MARKETECH APAC last September 2022.

There is quite an unsettling but interesting air from the way the ad man painted a picture of branding – indicating as if something is at stake other than just top-of-mind positioning, consumer perception, and loyalty. Nonetheless, Deakin must have struck a chord in audiences, earning it the topmost readership in 2022 amongst all written insights by industry leaders on the platform. This makes the feature our Thought Leadership of the Year.

The think piece that began with a sundry of worldly sorts

Reading into the first few paragraphs of Don’t believe the hype–rethink brand experience, you wouldn’t know that the think piece is indeed about branding. The global principal for design at Wolff Olins begins his commentary by explaining how the world is changing, touching on a sundry of entities such as the architecture of cities, data and AI, and gender identity. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Deakin said that our experience with a brand is “made up [of] multiple interactions and [micro-interactions].”

He further goes, “Brand isn’t a top-down or traditional channel approach but instead thinking of brand as a living breathing ecosystem of parts and how it stretches across all parts of business and operations.”

What Deakin seems to assert is that branding has ceased to revolve solely around marketing tactics, whereas “Marketing is just one piece in how you surface as an identity today.” 

He says, “We now need to view [brand-building] in a more open and transparent approach…[the] reality is that [today,] all the actions a brand does need to be viewed as [brand-building] opportunities, as consumers and employees are judging your brand on many fronts.” 

Befriending friction and considering principles of atomic design for your branding

Blocks of intelligent insights later, you’d find that Deakin’s main show has yet to come into the feature – and that would be his out-of-the-box and unorthodox three-pointer on how to deliver a brand experience that respects consumers’ unpredictable human nature. 

And it goes as follows: One, whereas ‘friction’ is at all costs avoided, he advises making your ‘friend’; two, in the same breath as breaking traditional approaches, he believes speed is not always king; and three, he encourages brands to consider the mechanism of atomic design and adopt the value of composability. 

If he were to pick only one and identify the most important amongst the three, he said it would be what he paralleled with science – being composable. 

“It seems we are in a recession, so the concept of being composable is something that brands should prioritise for sure,” he said. “Making sure you are armed with a modern design system that is adaptable to different channels and media is something that’s critical in a [recession] when different channels and platforms will be hit in different ways.” 

On a less technical note, but still in the name of being ‘flexible’, Deakin also reiterates that it’s about “being a friend, not just a utility.” 

“Psychological segmentation has an important role to play in understanding how we can be more human and coherent – showing up in many ways at the right time in the right way.” 

On aiming to be a category leader, he said, “That ability to arm your agency and partners with a composable brand that can work in many ways to attract different audiences is essential.” 

What brands must focus on this 2023

Deakin’s insight was penned in September 2022, and as of writing, had been a good quarter ago. In today’s fast-paced tech-inclined environment, that could metaphorically be described as light years ago if we’re talking about keeping up with consumers’ ever-changing nuances. 

If he would have written the piece today, Deakin said he would not change a thing. 

“I wouldn’t change anything I wrote. I would say that [there are] even more reasons to lean into brand experience as we move into 2023.” 

“As economic times get tougher, businesses tend to cut costs of course but brand experience is a very useful approach to become more agile and to convey the values, [meaning,] and purpose of your brand quickly, [easily,] and – most importantly – responsively to customers’ evolving concerns and needs in changing times.”

He said that 2023 is all about one thing, and that is building trust. Deakin joins the many leaders today that are advocating to focus more on consumer retention over acquisition. 

His two cents on the matter, “It’s not about throwing everything into searching for endless new customers but [instead] [about] making existing customers spend more time, money, and interactions with your brand.” 

He looks to BigTech members Apple and Amazon, and opened up about how the said players don’t waste efforts into bringing in new evangelists, but instead, finding more ways to keep those within their business ecosystem inside it. 

“If you [were to] do one thing well in [2023,] it should be prioritising the thing that galvanises trust with your primary customers – the customers whose loyalty you can’t afford to lose, especially in uncertain times.” 

Deakin concluded, “Spend more energy on building that deeper connection.”

This recognition is based on Google Analytics results on the most-read stories of 2022, along with editorial validation on the significance of a leader’s contribution, campaign results, and overall impact.

London, United Kingdom – Global pharmaceutical company GSK has unveiled an updated brand identity that symbolises how through the unity of science, technology and talent, people can all work together to get ahead of disease. This new identity was redesigned by brand consultancy Wolff Olins, which helped update the brand to reflect GSK’s new purpose, ambition, strategy, and culture.

Inspired by the striking imagery found in biosciences, the new identity, which retains the GSK name and its well-known orange logo, features numerous curved forms that evoke the highly adaptable nature of the human immune system, acting as a reminder of the constant need to evolve and adapt. Housed in a redesigned shape known as the ‘signal’, the new GSK logo always points the way ahead. The identity system flexes, adapts, and moves to engage audiences across all the digital, social and physical environments that the brand will appear in. 

Moreover, the brand new identity showcases the diversity of GSK’s people and partners, representing talent from across its influential worldwide network of GSK people, suppliers and innovative partners.

GSK said that this move follows its new Ahead Together purpose and growth ambitions, as well as the proposed demerger this year, which will see GSK become a company 100% focused on biopharma innovation, while its consumer business, Haleon, will start life as an independent leader in consumer healthcare.

Emma Walmsley, GSK’s CEO, noted that GSK is moving towards their most significant corporate change in 20 years with the demerger of their Consumer Healthcare business, Haleon. 

“GSK will now be purely focused on biopharma innovation, with bold ambitions for health impact, shareholder returns and as a company where people thrive. Our branding reflects our purpose: to unite science, technology and talent to get ahead of disease together,” said Walmsley.

Meanwhile, Emma Barratt, Wolff Olins’ global executive creative director, said, “Our ambition was to create a brand identity that signalled extraordinary adaptability – of the human immune system, of tech, of GSK’s people – so that the brand identity could work everywhere, and retain a feeling of constant innovation. But we had to balance this out with a need for warmth.”

David Stevens, Wolff Olins’ executive strategy director, commented, “What excited me most about all this was the desire to elevate GSK’s brand identity beyond the usual pharma brands and make a category-defining shift – towards something that would appeal to world-class talent at the cutting edge of science and technology.”

Through this rebranding, Wolff Olins has also developed a branding system that would work for everyone in the business. This includes close attention to accessibility was paid throughout every asset and application, and all assets have been tested for legibility both on-screen and in print, as well as a custom typeface by Face37 utilising ink traps for legibility was commissioned. The identity also contains a series of adaptable 3D forms enabling GSK to shape environments that suit all users.