Brand strategy and new identity for a digital platform
Duplays is the leading provider of access to recreational sports in the UAE region. With more than 100k members they connect expats with sports facilities, leagues and teams in the region. Their audience is young, active and high-income.
– How might we ensure that the brand speaks the audience language?
– How might we position the brand to expand into several different businesses and keep it aligned with its user-facing side?
The Strategy along with Design teams redefined the brand purpose, positioning it as a social brand with a digital character first, and prepared it for the next cycle of membership growth, and its spinoffs into other sports-related businesses.
Founded in 2007, Duplays (a portmanteau for Dubai Plays) started as a community for expats, by expats, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They grew quickly into the largest sports provider in the region with more than 100,000 members across a number of leagues, events and tournaments.
Following its success as a B2C service the founders started to expand the company into other sports-related areas. Those include investment into real-estate in the form of dedicated stadiums and a startup incubator for sports-centric businesses.
The agency was tasked with reinventing the brand but take into consideration its leading position and the current brand equity. Hence, along with the strategy team, I proposed that we treat the brand character from two perspectives: a user-facing social brand with a digital character first, and a corporate umbrella derived from it. This way we looked at keeping a consistent narrative aligned with the client's business strategy that works in a mutually supporting manner.
The process - strategy
The strategic thinking comprised the review of the organisation's history, the competition landscape, and a research into key socio-economic markers in the region – including the profiling of its users/members and potential target groups that were distilled into a user persona.
All the information gathered helped us define a brand persona based on universal Jungian archetypes, the 'Regular Guy' and 'The Ruler'. The idea was to dial up and down each character according to the context, i.e. the user-facing or corporate. In addition to that we did a diagnosing of its psychological goals, then defined as Excitement and Enjoyment.
Everything was distilled into a brand model that, at its base, defined 'points of difference and distinction', followed by 'brand persona' and 'archetype', its 'equity statement and goal(s)', and finally, at the top, the 'brand purpose' and 'the why'.
The process - design
With the brand model defined I set out to develop four different expression routes, which took on board the digital and social nature of the brand experience in the context of a rich local vernacular (Islamic art for example). I also emphasised different traits of the brand persona, bringing various angles to its narrative: sport as a means for deep personal engagement; the competitive character of sport as a leisure activity; the digital, fresh and dynamic look of online platforms; and the sport activity as a big personal statement, the concept favoured by the client
After that I started a process of iterative development and feedback loops with the client as well as users that landed on the current designs. The following steps entailed an extensive design stress test that included the definition of the following: primary and secondary colour ways, typography, photography applications and styles, pattern designs and applications on merchandise, apparel and digital.
The next steps will see the redevelopment of Duplays' user experience and user interface design on its website and mobile app.
Concept and design direction Vilmar Pellisson
Brand strategy Matt Hunt, India Donnely
Creative director Matt Campbell