MSLK’s New Wigwam Packaging: A Focus on Performance
MSLK has recently been busy working on completely new packaging and overall branding for Wigwam Mills, and it’s getting ready to hit the shelves this spring.
This was one of MSLK’s toughest challenges to date, for no other reason than we needed to improve on their previous design… also created by us. Though the challenges were different, we followed the same process as always, leading Wigwam toward reevaluating their core messaging, and revamping that look to stay true to their brand’s DNA. This new packaging is the first step toward helping them secure their place as a leader in the performance sock market.
MSLK current design from 2008:
Launched in 2008, the existing packaging sought to convey Wigwam as an all-American, venerable family-owned brand with offerings for everyone: from the weekend warrior to the Olympic athlete. Deriving creative strategies to support research uncovered by the famed marketing specialist G. Clotaire Rapaille, the packaging’s focus was on hand-touched graphics, native American themes, and feel-good product names designed to elicit an emotional appeal. Despite an initial success, a slew of competitors entered the market recently with hard-hitting technology messages, causing Wigwam’s packaging to no longer stand out as they had once done so well. Wigwam again chose MSLK because of our deep understanding of the product line, their challenges, and our ability to help unearth deeper core issues with the brand.
Numerous hierarchy exercises were employed to determine the most essential information:
MSLK developed several fast-paced exercises for the team, designed to help them focus on the most important aspects of their brand. These exercises were then translated into a creative brief that clearly communicated how we would solve the main issues during the design process. Our findings led us to four key insights:
1) Wigwam’s new packaging should play-up performance
2) Graphics should be modern and asymmetrical to communicate movement
3) Activities and benefits should become the most important information
4) The triangle/teepee is Wigwam’s true brand essence
A glimpse of some of the numerous design options explored internally:
We developed dozens of design prototypes, with a few rising to the surface that met all our strategic objectives. Two were eventually refined into versions suitable for thorough quantitative and qualitative consumer testing, with one emerging as the clear winner. The new design features a sleeve with angled edges, visually reinforcing speed and performance. Each product face contains a large teepee graphic comprised of activity-focused words in bright colors. Only the most essential information appears on the face, helping consumers easily distinguish between styles. The package backs were revamped as well, eschewing information that does not instantly communicate the performance benefits and Wigwam’s patented technologies. A QR code takes smartphone-enabled consumers directly to a web-page with more product information.
Before even hitting the shelves, our design won a 2012 American Package Design Award. It’s also performing well among athletes during market testing. At a recent international sales meeting, the unveiling was met with a standing ovation, as these changes were described as being exactly what was needed to compete. At an outdoor retailer show, the brand experienced an unprecedented buzz among all attendees. Wigwam has already incorporated the new branding into many of their promotional efforts, including their sales catalog, retail stands, signs and collateral at races and trade shows, and their traveling van. Look for the new packaging this spring at REI, Paragon, Dicks and other high-end performance stores!