Sid Lee to rebrand Sport Chek

The sports retailer wants new retail design and digital strategy

The sports retailer wants new retail design and digital strategy

Canadian Tire has hired Sid Lee and Sid Lee Architecture for a top-to-bottom rebrand of the recently acquired Sport Chek retail chain. The rebrand is expected to start rolling out early next year.

Canadian Tire officially took control of Sport Chek this summer after closing its $771-million takeover of Calgary-based Forzani Group, the country’s largest sporting goods retailer. In the middle of the acquisition, Canadian Tire conducted about a dozen pieces of consumer research on the Sport Chek brand, said Duncan Fulton, chief marketing officer of Forzani Group, which Canadian Tire has renamed FGL.

“Sport Chek has great brand equity, but it is lacking an emotional connection to our customers. I actually think it is lacking some soul as a brand,” said Fulton. “Sport Chek has a great transactional relationship with customers, but that is only good until the next big competitor shows up.”

Fulton looked at a number of agencies informally, but ultimately hired Sid Lee because of its “All Adidas” campaign. “As a brand platform, it is so authentic for me,” he said.

At Sid Lee, the Sport Chek account is being led by Vito Piazza, the managing partner and vice-president of its Toronto office.

FGL will keep the Sport Chek name, but the rebrand will aim to build a stronger emotional tie with Sport Chek’s distinct customer segments, from families and fitness buffs to adrenaline sports junkies and nature lovers. “We’ve found the essence of the brand that will speak to all of those folks in different ways,” said Fulton.

Traditionally, Sport Chek has spent most of its advertising dollars on its print flyer. To reach its largely young adult and teen customer base moving forward, “you will see Sport Chek go big-time digital from a marketing strategy point of view.”

For example, Fulton said they plan a spring launch of a new digital platform that will push products based on customer segmentation, geography and weather.

FGL has also hired Sid Lee Architecture – a partnership between Sid Lee and architects Jean Pelland and Martin Leblanc – to create a new store design for the retailer.

Montreal and Toronto agency BOS previously did some work for Sport Chek before Canadian Tire purchased Forzani. The agency will continue to work on sister brand Sports Experts, an account it has had for 15 years.

“When we were facing the Competition Bureau review of the acquisition, we weren’t allowed to engage with Forzani’s partners,” said Fulton. “But even though we couldn’t formally do anything, we needed to start planning, which is why we hired Sid Lee as a branding partner.

“Where Sid Lee has taken some other brands is where I want to take the Sport Chek brand,” he added.

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