Brand Strategist
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Dick's Sporting Goods

Main output: Repositioning + Rebrand
Approach: Hear the haters.

 

Dick's Sporting Goods

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Approach: Hear the haters.

Skills used: brand repositioning, rebranding, brand planning, retail strategy, market research, primary research, creative brief writing, social listening, internal rebrand, market sizing

  Yeah, that's  exactly  what I want to tell my 6-year-old playing t-ball.

Yeah, that's exactly what I want to tell my 6-year-old playing t-ball.

Cultural problem

As a society, we are obsessed with hard work. Nothing, including sports, is worth doing unless you’re striving to be elite.

Brand problem

Dick's Sporting Goods, while not a specialty brand, positions itself and competes with brands trying to capture the elite specialists.

Old target

Dick’s Sporting Goods is trying to talk to the "Pauls" of the world. The problem is that the Pauls of the world really don't care about Dick’s Sporting Goods. Because their kid is going all the way, though only 2 percent of kids ever go pro or to the Olympics.

Dick’s is a store for the casual player...not the serious or specialist.
— Paul, probably.

Paul is a jerk. Don't be Paul. Here's the original on Youtube.

As a result, Paul is only going to support serious retailers and the general sporting goods retail market is feeling it. Several major sporting goods retailers have closed their doors, and more than 22 million square feet of retail space has evaporated from the industry. While the Pauls might spend $500 or more per month to support their kids' endeavors, they aren't spending it with us. 

New target

Parents of kids 15 and younger, effectively teaching the new generation of kids to love the game for the sake it before they have the chance to burn out. 

And this is good for parents, kids, and the brand.

For parents:
When a child drops out of any organized sport, parents lose the social circles that come with it. Going to the game creates a powerful bond as a family, but also with their communities. Seeing pictures of others enjoying games they no longer attend can also sting and compound their FOMO. Outside the scheduled activities of group sports, most parents simply don't have the time to cultivate new friendships with other adults. 

For kids: 
By the age of 15, more than 75 percent of kids completely stop playing sports. 

A survey I conducted showed that the same kids who were aggressively pushed into playing sports were consistently the same kids who never wanted to play sports again. Sometimes this was because of an early sports injury from being pushed too hard, but it was consistently tied to emotional bitterness. And unfortunately for the brand right now, this emotional angst also translates into a lifetime of lost sales opportunities for any would-be casual players.

Objective

Redefining the success of sports from goal-oriented to journey-oriented. Connections can be made with people who have a love for the game rather than a love for winning.

Strategy

Dick’s Sporting Goods makes sports all about connecting over the fun and games.

 
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Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too.
— Pat Tyson Cross Country Coach, University of Gonzaga
 
 

The case study video

ESPN/CSR tie-in

An ESPN tie-in can take a common household moment and make it a little more fun while reminding viewers about not only the brand, but its ongoing CSR efforts as well.

Just for fun

 
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What I learned from this project

  • Not to be afraid to be more involved in the creative process.
  • Flipping a cultural problem or discussion on its head can also help solve business problems.
  • Working with creatives is important to me.

The team

Rachel Cohen, Creative Brand Manager
Carole Trickey, Strategist (hi!)
Kelly Prudente, Experience Design
Brian Marcolini, Copywriter
Mike Rodriguez, Art Director