What makes a sportswear brand a brand and not just logo’d stuff

Updated: Jan 21

A sportswear brand is completely different than product with a logo printed or embroidered onto it. A brand evokes passion and desire because of what it stands for, the quality of service, product and values. Their message, tone and ethics all contribute to making a brand a brand which is then fuelled by passion, conviction and culture.

We often get approached by start-ups that have simply created a logo, branded some off the shelf white label goods and then found the are struggling to sell them. The believe they have created a brand; however, this is far from reality.

To create a successful brand, you need much more than a logo and some generic stock you logo up. Ideally you want to create a product with a very defined USP. Something that isn’t available right now on the market or something you can improve upon by adding features, performance, style or quality. By having a USP, you have something to communicate about rather than looking like an established brand knock off.

You then need to create a brand identity, and this is more than a logo. This identity represents your brand on every touch point, be is logo, packaging, social platforms, website, shop livery etc. Everything the consumer ever sees or touches needs to be consistent and represent your brand.

You also need to work out what your brand stands for. Is it about being carbon neutral? Is it performance driven? Is it about quality or style? This again needs to be defined and translated into your messaging and touch points. Once defined, we recommend you print this off and stick it on your office wall and read this every 6 months and ask yourself if you are adhering to the initial vision. If things have slid off message, then this might be fine if you agree this is the new path for the brand however it’s a good reminder to see if what you are actually doing is still relevant as the world and opportunities constantly evolve.

Product is KING. We can’t stipulate this enough. If you don’t create amazing product then you won’t amaze your customers. If customers feel underwhelmed by their purchase, they won’t return for more or spread the word or worse still, return the goods for a refund. This will result in you having to find brand new customers to move your stock and this ultimately will cost you a fortune in marketing.

If you create outstanding product, then everything else falls into place. Product reviews by bloggers, magazines and customers start to flow in and this spreads to word really fast. This is free marketing and before you know it, everyone is talking about your brand within your target market.

The team you build is also really important. You need to surround yourself with energetic, knowledgeable and enthusiastic people. You need a team that are passionate about the business and really understand what you are trying to achieve. You need a team that works together and enjoy working as a team. If you have one member of your team that doesn’t sync with your brand or the rest of the team, this causes friction and the culture starts to break down. If you and your team are all pulling in the same direction, it creates a positive culture of success and enjoyment. Remember to look after your team and involve them as much as possible in the growth plans for the future to maintain their focus and interest in the business and also feel valued.

Website, social media, online adverts, press releases all need to be created in line with your message and values. This also goes for your customer service and dispatch. If you are a premium brand, then think about who you use to deliver your goods. The brand and service you select needs to reflect your brand values and service levels.

The same goes for your packaging or shop fit. It needs to be considered and checked against your values and brand language otherwise the consumer will pick up on these small things and become unconvinced about your brand.

Price points also need to reflect your message. Anyone can sell product at 50% off and continually be in sale, however your margin will be severally hit and eventually consumers loose interest in your brand as the desire is lost, instead replaced by a feeling of disappointment as they feel your brand can’t be premium or worth what you claim if it’s always in sale. The world is slowly waking up to the fact that discounts, bargains and low cost has a price. Either the product is below standard or workers or the world is suffering because it’s a bargain.

Our advice to our start up brands is simple. You have one chance to get this right so make sure you do it right. Don’t compromise on anything and make sure you launch with everything as amazing as you can achieve, otherwise it’s like pushing water uphill and could result in failure.

At Blue Associates Sportswear, we work with many start-ups, from concept through to launch so understand what’s really required to launch successfully. We only take on clients that are willing to give this 100% so that we can be assured they have the best chance to come back for more, season after season and become part of the sportswear establishment.

If you are an activewear start-up and would like to know more about how this all works and obtain a free quote, please get in touch now.