Our brand identity was a springboard for success
World Gymnastics Championships 2022
- Brand strategy
- Research and workshops
- Brand positioning statement
- Logo design
- Visual identity (including roll-out)
- Creation of tone of voice
- Copy samples
- Key messaging for each audience group
- Brand guidelines
- Website design and build
- Motion design and behaviours
- Launch campaign materials
- Ongoing website support and future dev
A world-class sporting event needs a world-class brand identity. The annual World Gymnastics Championships was coming back to the UK for the first time since 2015, this time taking place in Liverpool during October 2022. Having created the branding for the 2015 championships in our native Glasgow – added to other major sporting events such as Glasgow 2018’s European Championships, and Liverpool’s Netball World Cup 2019 – no-one was better placed than us to nail this tricky landing.
The task at hand
With a mission, vision, and values already in place, our task was to take these brand elements, expand them into a brand positioning, brand personality, and tone of voice, and from there, create a visual identity worthy of the biggest and best world championships yet.
Breaking down barriers
We started the project by hosting some incredibly insightful brand strategy workshops with the marketing team and key external stakeholders to help expand the discussion around what gymnastics means, their ambitions for the event itself and what it means to the city. These workshops also helped us to build a better understanding of the audience groups we were targeting. One key aspect that surfaced was the perception of gymnasts themselves who, due to their superhuman abilities, can be seen as elitist and unrelatable. Those who love gymnastics understood the dedication and passion needed to a world-class gymnast, but these die-hard fans were just a small section of a large audience we hoped to attract.
It became clear we needed a brand positioning statement that would work not just for the uber fans, but for spectators who simply enjoy attending large events. Welcome to our World did just that. Wanting to make gymnastics more open and inviting to a wider audience, this gave us a fantastic starting point on which to build the brand and acted as flexible platform to tell the all-important stories of the gymnasts. Welcome to our World worked on another level by also capturing the friendliness of Liverpudlians and their city – a key factor for the city’s tourism – which was waiting to greet people with open arms.
Something we had to take into consideration before starting the project were some colour restrictions. Liverpool is a city divided when it comes to football, which meant we had to steer clear of the reds and blues of their opposing teams. Historically gymnastics events overuse pink, and Liverpool City Council had splashed its corporate purple around the city, so these colours were off limits. Throw in stiff competition from other major sports events in England that same year – the Commonwealth Games and Rugby League World Cup, who both had their brands out in the public domain – and the options were tighter than a too-small leotard.
A flexible visual identity
Sports events logos need to work harder than most, having to be immediately recognisable and memorable. Our logo incorporated togetherness, motion and movement, and the iconic Liverpool motif, the shape of the liver birds. We called it the Worldpool, a simple but meaningful mark that would look just as good as a pin badge as it would on huge screens at the event itself. Beyond the logo, branding needs flexibility, even more so when it’s a sporting event. We used the Worldpool as a graphic device, emphasising the fluidity and beauty of their movements, or simply use it as a framing device. While we cheated a little with the colours of the logo itself – there’s a bit of red and blue in there – the overall branding colour palette stuck to the promise of standing out and being distinctive. Working alongside colour were unique textured backgrounds – reminiscent of clouds of chalk dust – easily generated to create as many different versions as our client needed.
Teamwork is everything
As the lead agency, we were delighted to support the client as brand guardians over the 18 months we worked together in the lead up to the event. We’re good listeners and love collaborating, so worked closely with a number of other agencies on the run up to the World Gymnastics Championships. We supported the Marketing team and their bank of freelancers, and worked with suppliers to design uniforms for the staff and event volunteers. We even helped choose flooring colours for the venue itself.
The World Gymnastics Championships 2022 brand was seen by millions, with over 900,000 in the UK alone watching Britain’s men’s team picking up a bronze – with even higher viewing figures reported on the closing weekend. Our campaigns helped to sell over 35,000 tickets, which surpassed all targets. Volunteer applications in response to our campaign were double the target, delivering a truly multicultural group with 35 different languages being spoken between them. Our contribution to the client’s Instagram posts helped them to achieve more than three times the average followers from any of the previous five FIG World Gymnastics Championships events. We helped welcome the world to Liverpool, and Liverpool delivered. Perfect 10s all round.