Changing a sport’s perceptions

British Wheelchair Basketball has experienced phenomenal growth since the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. As the National Governing Body (NGB) of the sport, British Wheelchair Basketball runs the national leagues, manages the sports membership, and delivers the GB Performance Programme.

Take a look at our case study video below.

 
 
 

Wheelchair basketball is one of the UK’s most successful and viewed team Paralympic Sports, with the British teams enjoying a period of unprecedented success.

In 2017 British Wheelchair Basketball realised that it needed to objectively review its brand proposition and identity to enable the continued evolution of the sport – the NGB commenced recruiting for a brand agency to join them on this journey.

Our mission

There were several key notions that the successful agency needed to get to grips with:

  • Identifying British Wheelchair Basketball’s brand proposition, values and vision
  • Creating a new identity for the NGB (National Governing Body)
  • Establishing how the GB teams and Leagues/Membership will sit/align with this identity and values
  • Deliver brand guidelines for corporate, partner and membership use

In order to get a good understanding of British Wheelchair Basketball before we’d won the initial pitch, we carried out some extensive research into what makes them tick, who they are and exactly what they needed.

 

We pitched against two other agencies and, as you may have guessed, we were successful in winning the contract.

Bringing British Wheelchair Basketball into the Arch family was a huge win for us – not only are they a great organisation with national scope, but the new brand has the potential for some brilliant, industry-defining campaigns.

Stakeholder Workshops

The first thing planned and implemented was a set of in-depth stakeholder interviews. We knew that each individual part of the organisation is integral to how it works, so it was important to hear as many views as we could. Our stakeholder management workshops were attended by members of the GB teams, the board of British Wheelchair Basketball and members of all the departments and fed into by clubs across the UK. These workshops formed the basis of the creative thinking behind the brand that we’ve developed.

The document that resulted from the stakeholder workshops is a blueprint for how BWB works as a brand – from brand values, to brand vision, imagery to tone of voice and, of course, the new logo.

 

 

Personality, Values and Positioning

An element of the British Wheelchair Basketball rebrand we had to get right involved cornering the brand’s values, vision and position. As the organisation has progressed, it has attained a unique identity, which we needed to capture.

The brand personality shines through in everyone associated with the organisation. We captured the feeling in the following adjectives, that describe the members of British Wheelchair Basketball: Passionate, Supportive, Ambitious, Edgy. Whilst these words won’t necessarily be used in marketing collateral, they were important for us to understand the organisation.

The values were crucial to get right. They inform how we designed and created the brand, but they’re not just brand values – they’re the values that the individuals who work for British Wheelchair Basketball hold as well. They needed to portray every facet of the organisation. They are the qualities that make them unique:

• Drive  • Pride  • Grit  • United

These values directly informed a brand positioning statement, which captures the essence of BWB:

Together we are British Wheelchair Basketball.

 

Our thought process

Three critical elements of wheelchair basketball are all circular: the basketball itself, the hoop and, of course, the wheel of the chair. For these reasons, we decided on a visual style that focused on circular objects.

One consideration was whether the chair needed to be included in a logo.  Following our stakeholder findings, we concluded that the wheelchair is an inherent element of the sport which doesn’t need to be obviously visually represented – the word is included within the British Wheelchair Basketball.

It was pointed out in our initial logo reveal that the logo looks like an abstract version or a wheelchair basketball player.

British Wheelchair Basketball is made up of three important groups: the GB Teams, the Participation team and the competitive leagues. To highlight the community that runs through these three groups, we created an identity that splits one circle into three segments – they’re different, but they’re part of the same whole.

The logo we’ve produced is dynamic and mobile. The three segments move and collide, impacting and influencing each other. They also neatly balance with the three-word title: British Wheelchair Basketball.

 

Lisa Pearce, CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball, comments:

“Our sport is incredible – fast and dramatic – and every day we see players competing from elite level internationally to domestically within our national leagues. They are joined by players new to the game, making new friends in our clubs up and down the country.

“We are so proud of our sport, but the old identity for British Wheelchair Basketball no longer worked in today’s world. As a sport we are almost unrecognisable from where we were twenty years ago. We wanted the new brand to fundamentally represent us, unique to British Wheelchair Basketball and our stakeholders.”

“The new brand identity is brave and will undoubtedly challenge current perceptions of the sport. Every facet of the brand’s delivery now lives and breathes the sports’ dynamic DNA.

With our brand partner Arch Creative, we have taken a close look at ourselves and our sport and have created a brand hierarchy and identity which will evolve with us. I am very proud to say that Together We Are British Wheelchair Basketball.”

 
 

The next steps

Alongside the new brand identity we’ve also developed brand guidelines, a series of brand videos, kit designs, merchandise concepts and social media graphics – a full suite of excellent marketing materials to drive the brand forwards.

Arch Director Joe Nixon concludes:

“Our work with British Wheelchair Basketball has been hugely rewarding. We knew it would be tough to revolutionise the brand of a National Governing Body, but we were up for the challenge. We were clear that we wanted to avoid the stereotypical designs used within the disability sports sector. Instead, we focused on the things that empower and reflect the attitudes, dedication and behaviours of players, fans and the wider organisation.

The new brand communicates a more confident organisation and position. It embodies a fundamental change of tone and posture, one that celebrates British Wheelchair Basketball and the sport, motivating those already playing and those yet to play and watch British Wheelchair Basketball.”

 

The old British Wheelchair Basketball logo.

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