Branding and Creative Direction at SDI Labs — US sports nutrition factory.
SDI Labs, a sports nutrition laboratory had some white-label within their production, but they wanted to create one of their own, as they had their own formulas, to compete with the bigger companies. I had made some freelance for those white-labels before so I was brought in as a creative director to create a new brand from scratch, with the briefing of having it as a military arsenal. The names of the products would all refer to guns or well-known weaponry/bombs, so the visuals should follow. I had a very lean team to produce it all, being in contact with third-party developers for the web, and all sort of contractors for printing, video, merchandising, etc.
Building it up
Along with all the analog part of creating the brand and products, we had to create a very complete website, with all the information of each product, have it integrated with e-commerce layer, and manage all communication of the brand through social media, email marketing and even the phone calls of the customer service toll free line.
E-commerce was the most important layer since most of the selling in the beginning was made online, directly to the consumers. But many important features already designed were left to a future iteration, like being mobile friendly or responsive — as at the time the numbers were still growing, and also adding some Search Engine Optimization principles, since the main initial flux of buyers were coming from the ads on big sports magazines.
I was the creative director. I took the briefing from the company’s president and created all the visual design, all the launching strategy on social media, ads, UX for the web and interactive kiosk. The names of the products were mostly suggested by the president — that was a military enthusiast. He would bring two or three suggestions, and I would give my recommendations until we reached a final agreement. Other than that I pretty much had a lot of freedom to create and come up with a lot of solutions. User tests were made mostly on a ‘guerrilla’ basis — no pun intended.
Reaching the niche
For the visuals, I used a lot of camouflage patterns, and for the lettering a lot of flames. As we started competing for attention on magazine ads, the firsts one showed us that we were on the right path, as we stood out right away, which reflected on the selling numbers — our most daring KPI. The brand and products were a huge success, and by the time I left, it was growing steadily and already being sold in sports nutrition chain shops throughout the US and even exported to Australia and Brazil — to name a few big countries.