Wigwam Mills 360° Strategic Brand Development
Wigwam Mills, a third generation, family run sock manufacturer, wanted a new look to secure their future as a performance-based sock company that uses advanced fibers. Over the years, Wigwam had introduced technologically advanced socks under sub-brands Ultimax and INgenius, which watered down their in-store brand recognition. They needed to strengthen and unify their brand to compete against a wide range of competitors–from funky Smartwool to techno-sleek Nike.
MSLK began with a thorough research process and established a Creative Brief that not only outlined a successful rebranding strategy, but unified the Wigwam team of the significant changes ahead. Analysis concluded that simplifying the Wigwam brand was imperative. This was done by eliminating sub-brands and developing a pro-line for technologically advanced products. The product lines were reorganized to correspond with the five distinctive retail departments: Outdoor, Sport, Snowsport, Health and At Work. This process entailed repositioning all 173 products and developing new product names.
MSLK developed Native American patterns and illustrations that conveyed the company’s production heritage in Sheboygan, Wisconsin since 1904. Each product line was distinguished with a bold color palette and a metallic foil was applied to the pro-level socks as an indicator of the higher-quality, higher-priced products. These visuals were brought online and paired with an interactive interface that allowed viewers to delve deeper into the technology behind the products and find the perfect sock. In addition, a blog with stories from Wigwam athletes allowed consumers to get to know the brand while encouraging repeat visitors.
Ultimately this became the most important rebranding effort in Wigwam’s history. By emphasizing the company’s USA-made heritage, MSLK was able to create a unique and authentic spot in the marketplace. The end results were instantly well received by sales representatives, retailers, and consumers alike. Retailers who were able to grow their business in 2009 increased their orders by 192%.
MSLK’s discovery findings.
Brand Architecture recommendations and product line restructuring.
Sample retail shelf set.